• Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
Will Marfuggi, Dad

Will Marfuggi

My dad passed away on Saturday, January 23rd. I wrote this Sunday the 24th. I owe a deep debt to my friends, family and colleagues who have reached out and shown my family and I love and support over the last couple of days.

I don't know what to do, I don't have any answers. I can barely describe how I feel but I'll do my best. Not really for you. For me. I'm just beginning to process what it means to lose a parent and maybe trying to write about it will help me process it or help me achieve some catharsis. So here it goes:

24 hours ago my mom called me to tell me my dad died. I initially missed the call, but thought it was weird my mom was calling. Usually the call comes from my dad's number so I called back just to see what was up. When she said the words, "Honey, I think daddy's gone...he's dead," my life changed. I still don't know exactly how he died. Maybe she, or the responder she put me on the phone with, explained it but I didn't hear it through the rush of blood and adrenaline that rushed to my head. All I know is that it came out of nowhere and it happened very quickly, if not instantaneously.

Will Marfuggi, Dad

Will Marfuggi

Beyond knowing, intellectually, the definition of the word "surreal," I now understand what it feels like to have a surreal moment. In that moment, my brain didn't understand what was happening. I was understanding the words that my mom was saying to me, I understood the words that the fire captain, who was trying resuscitate him, was telling me (he was gone, he wasn't coming back, and there was nothing more that could be done), but it felt like I'd slipped into an alternate reality, not the one I grew up in. I ceased to understand what those words I was hearing meant. In fact, "I don't believe it" may have been something that I said over and over to the point that the man on the phone told me that I needed to believe it and that now it was time to be strong for my mother. I'm pretty sure I expected them to say, "Oh never mind, we got it. He'll be fine." I wanted to believe this because he's had so many brushes with death and lived to not only tell the tale but later laugh about it. He survived amateur ski jumping, being thrown from a horse and he even nearly blew his face off in a misguided attempt to dispose of gunpowder. My dad was the definition of "sturdy," I had literally just seen a picture of him blowing snow off the driveway earlier in the day, there's no way he's going to go down just looking out the window at all the clean, white snow Jonas was dumping. He's fine, he'll always be fine...

Will Marfuggi, Dad

Will Marfuggi

I also wanted to believe that this wasn't happening because...man, I'm not ready for this. I'm not ready to move forward without him. I'm not ready for him to not be by my side at my wedding in two months. Even now I can't get through that thought without breaking down. I loved him, so much. He was one of my best friends. He was the first person I called when I got good news, and also bad news. He'd know what to say in this situation…He'd know who I should call or what I should do to help me feel better about this. But now I'm a little lost.

There's no preparing yourself for this. How could there be? The first day was spent fielding phone calls from family. Trying to keep it together during the call and then being overcome with sadness the moment I hung up. Another thing I couldn't have anticipated: my house is now marked with the memory of where I was when I found out and the moments that followed. The bathroom is now "the room where I called my mom back." The kitchen is "the room that I told the fire captain to not stop performing CPR." The hallway is "the place where I sat on the floor and called my fiancée to tell her what happened." The yard is "where I sat on the ground and cried until she got home."

I started trying to catalog memories. I remember my dad being strict when I was young, probably so I would always do the right thing but as I got older that strictness was tempered with a little rebelliousness. He respected me enough to let me forge my own path even through occasionally he met me with some resistance. He had a way of being intimidating but he was also a big, Italian bundle of emotions he didn't feel he needed to hide. He was always ready with a heartfelt speech, he was ready to be the life of the party, he was ready to make a moment with friends and family. And now I'm remembering all the times he cried a little while dropping me off at the airport after a holiday break so I could fly back to L.A. to resume my life across the country. Now that that won't happen again, I'd give anything to go back and live in those goodbye hugs just an extra second.

Will Marfuggi, Dad

Will Marfuggi

My dad loved. He loved his family, he put his wife and children before himself. He loved his friends, he loved a party, he loved shooting and, occasionally, he loved a nice cigar and some small batch bourbon. He loved watching my stories on E! News or on Live from E!. He was my biggest fan. He would text or call after every show, and he had opinions, strong opinions about the shirts I wore, lighting, my makeup (or lack of) and even punch lines to jokes. I'll miss that daily contact, I don't know what it will be like to do something for the show and not have him text me "your mother and I laughed so hard. Well done, my boy." He also liked to use emojis. The A-OK and thumbs-up hands were the two he used most commonly. It's dawning on me as I write this that I'll have to decide whether or not to keep our text chain or his Facebook page. Will it be a pleasant reminder or will it be too painful leave to leave them in a place so easily accessible?

It's hard to hear people tell me he loved me and that he was proud of me. I knew he loved me, I knew he was proud of who I'd become. I wish I could have thanked him for that, I don't know who I would have become without him. I wish I could have said goodbye and told him I loved him one last time. I wish I would stop crying.

I know in the long run I'll be fine. It'll be weird for a while. Maybe it'll always be weird not to have him around. I know that when my mom, sister and I are all together it'll be weird that he's not there. But we're not the first family this has happened to and we're certainly not the last. Maybe how we feel is how all families feel when they lose someone. Right now, 24 hours out, we're shattered. I'm going to choose to feel lucky that we're shattered. It means that there was love there. It means that it's a loss we'll feel and that means that there was something great there to begin with and for that, we're lucky. Even though it doesn't feel like it now.

Will Marfuggi, Dad

Will Marfuggi