My Dad Died

That’s it. That’s the title.

He had been battling COVID-19 for about two weeks. He had it rough, but he had never been the type to admit that he was sick, but he took it seriously. I was very worried about him at first when I called him and it sounded like he could barely speak. But then he got better, and after awhile his appetite returned. He had been living alone since my parents split up. I and many of his friends arranged to have food and medicine delivered to his doorstep.

A few days ago he excitedly told me how he had eaten some of the jello I sent him. He was tired, but he was feeling better. Then yesterday morning, January 12, he wasn’t answering his phone. I called my mother, she called the police, I rushed over. I told myself he had just fallen asleep without charging his phone, but I knew. I knew. I just didn’t want to admit it to myself yet.

Over the past decade, even longer maybe, I have wondered what this day would be like. Would I have any regrets when he was gone? We didn’t always have an ideal relationship We fought a lot because he wasn’t always the father I wanted him to be. He was hard to talk to, he didn’t always care about the things we cared about, he didn’t always understand our hobbies. But I loved our roadtrips together, I loved working with him in his guitar store, and I loved watching movies with him. Whenever a new historical or war movie came out that no one else wanted to see I could always guarantee that he would want to go with me.

And he was so supportive, of everything. He was always so proud of me and my brothers and his friends say that we were all he talked about. When I first tried my hand at writing on sheets of loose leaf paper he was so excited that he bought me my first computer. He was the first to sign up to my email list, and would contact me after every post. A few weeks ago I sent him the first eight chapters of the book I’ve been writing. He loved it. I wish I could show him the rest.

About two years ago my parents split up and my dad moved out. It was a hard two years for him, but at the same time it was something he needed. We grew closer, he became more attentive, more talkative. We grew a lot closer. I wish that we had had more time together. I wish that he had been able to fully grow into his second bachelordom. There are so many things I still wanted to do with him. I had ideas for roadtrips, I had diners I wanted to visit. I wish we had more time.

At the same time. I can honestly say that I don’t have any regrets. He knows I loved him, he knows I didn’t hate him. There’s nothing more that needed to be said and I am thankful for that.

My father was very popular in his community. It has only been a day and already there has been an incredible outpouring of support. All day I’ve been on the phone with his friends, and my friends. Dozens of people have posted to Facebook about him. He was a big part of the local community and he is dearly missed. In the coming months I’ll be using this post as a way of archiving all of the tributes being made to him.

I know these times are hard, but if you have a few dollars to spare it would mean a lot if you could donate to Caffe Lena or the Franklin Community Center in the name of my father, Matthew McCabe. No one who walked into his store needing help ever left without it, but these are two causes that he kept coming back to.

Thank you. And wear your mask. Please.

Tributes To My Father

  • A celebration of my father’s life is being planned for Feb 20th and will be hosted online by Caffe Lena. Anyone who wants to say a few words can email a 3-4 minute video to
  • I had really only just begun to upload all of my father’s music to Youtube. He was so excited by the idea of sharing his music again. I still need to upload the rest, but you can listen to what is there so far here.
  • As long as I knew my father he was playing music. He used to bring me to his gigs when I was little. He would say I was his roadie and make me feel important, and then order me a plate of chicken tenders. Life for all musicians during covid has been tough. A few weeks ago he sang at his last gig which was done over livestream. He was so excited, it was the first time I ever heard him get nervous about a gig. You can find it here.
  • Just a few hours after his death there were dozens sharing their grief and their support. It’s so good to see that the community he loved so much loved him back. Saratoga Living was quick to share the news.
  • I spoke with a very nice reporter at the Saratogian about this article this morning. As much as I miss him it helps to talk about him.
  • Spectrum News interviewed several of his friends the other day.
  • An article from the Times Union.
  • The mayor of Saratoga Springs plans to declare a day for him.
  • Another article with details on the tribute being planned for him at Caffe Lena.
  • Saratoga Living recently published this tribute, which includes quotes from several people, including myself.

13 thoughts on “My Dad Died”

  1. That is perfect Charlie.

    I am here for you and your brothers always.

    We love you and we are here for you ..,

    Uncle John

  2. Beautiful, Charlie. You’re Dad sure did talk about you a lot the last few years. A few years a go he told me he read one of your pieces you had been working on and he was like “it was actually really good… Like really really good.” He adored you.

  3. Very thoughtful, honest, well written piece. Your dad and I are the same age. Knew him fairly well through the store and the music scene. I was in his shop a month ago. He had a lot to say about the state of affairs and moving on into the future. He will be missed by many.

  4. My name is Kari Cushing and I am the executive director at Franklin Community Center. As you know, your Dad was a big supporter of ours. I am so terribly sorry to hear of his passing. What a tremendous loss for our entire community and especially for you and your family.

    What a beautifully written piece — such a nice tribute to your father. I am sure he would be honored.

    We have already received some donations in his honor. I would be happy to send you a list of folks who make memorial donations, just let me me know the best way to get them to you.

    Sending love and strength to you and your family.

  5. Beautifully written Charlie. Very honest and to the point. He was so proud of you and your brothers and I heard, with smiles, about your exploits every time we got together.

  6. This is beautiful Charlie. Your dad would be so pleased with your words and was so very proud of all his sons. He was a great friend, sounding board and commiserator whenever either of us needed it. Didn’t get to see him so much the past few years but rather than be sad for that, I choose to hold all the past wonderful memories close. He was a wonderful man… thinking of you all.

  7. Well done. Your father would be proud of the way you are handling his loss. After a recent loss in our family a good friend reminded me that “no matter how much time you have with your dad, it’s never long enough”. The following day a timely fortune cookie revealed a ironic truth… “you always think you have more time”
    Your dad a had a quiet power to touch everyone around him in a positive way. Relish the memories of Matt and remember the little things that made him special to you. Peace.

  8. Hi Charlie,
    This is Chelsie from Rural Soul Music Studio. Thank you for writing this and sharing your thoughts with the world. We are all here for your family. Your Dad talked about you and your brothers with so much enthusiasm every time I visited with him. I can remember when I first met you, when you were working at the store. I think I exclaimed “You’re Charlie!” as I was just so excited to meet one of Matt’s heroes.

    His positive impact on my life is vast… And vast is the void left by his sudden departure.

    Stay creative, and kind. Thank you, Charlie.

  9. Charlie,

    Your Dad sang his stories and you type yours into a computer. It is the same talent expressed differently.

    I went to school with your dad in Elizabethtown. He was popular, engaging and talented as all the McCabes were/are. As you know Elizabethtown is a small town. Most have known each other since elementary school or earlier.

    Your father was an important part of our lives. Although he moved away years ago, we still feel he is ours. He sang his first solos, learned to play trombone, performed his first gigs, and released his first recordings here.

    This community is in mourning. Everywhere I go, people are talking about your dad and shaking their heads. Noone can believe or accept that he will no longer come “home” for a visit.

    A few years ago, you and your dad traveled north to see his former music teacher, Joe Wyant, play his last concert. The two of you sat in lawn chairs, listening to the man who was instrumental in molding and giving Matt his first opportunities to showcase his talents. No doubt these experiences gave your dad the courage/confidence to step onto other stages.

    Several years ago, many of this man’s former music students marched in the “Etown Day” parade in a tribute to this teacher. The weekend.of the parade was the same date as one of the guitar shows. Unfortunately, Matt wasn’t able to march with us, but he did send dozens of kazoos.

    Now all adults, as we marched we hummed into those plastic instruments the.same tunes we had learned under Joe’s direction. The man who had brought music into our lives was brought to tears

    Your dad made his home in Saratoga, while still being part of his hometown.

    This town was enriched because he lived here. People in this community will forever hold a place in their hearts for Matthew McCabe.

    Although, I lost my father decades ago, I still feel his presence in my life. I will.see something and know would appreciate the iorny. His character and ways of seeing things are as much a part of me now as they were when he was alive.

    The journey you and your brothers are taking is difficult and not one you chose. You come from good stock and I am sure you will continue to be men that would make your father proud.

    My name is Linda Dolly.
    Sophie and Jake Milstein call me Aunt Linda

    PS (I enjoyed the tribute you wrote about my friend, your father. Thank you for sharing it.)

  10. I’m so sorry Charlie for the loss of your dad ❤️What a great man ,I worked for a bit at OBI and I have some great memories of your dad 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  11. Charlie,

    It’s your old English teacher here – Mrs. Cox from Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’m so very sorry for the loss of your father. Your tribute to him is so beautiful. Your father clearly had a way to connect with so many people in our community and will be missed by many. Keep writing – you do it well (you always have).

    Sending love,
    Julie Cox

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