Billy Joel

My dad and I have always shared similar opinions on just about everything. We love the same Billy Joel songs. We like to eat at the same restaurants. We‘re intrigued by the same journalists and inspired by the same writers. We share a love of music and a lack of rhythm. And we laugh at the same bizarre jokes. We’ve even come to an agreement that there are two types of people in the world: people who like Family Guy (him) and people who like South Park (me). So even when we disagree, we somehow manage to still agree.

Lately, the chemo and other cancer meds have changed him. And I can only assume the sadness and stress have changed me too. Our similarities seem to dwindle and things we agree on are fewer and farther between. Recently, it seems that stubbornness is all we share. We disagree on big stuff, like what to write and how to write it. And we disagree on the littlest things, like the best route to take to the store.

Then, last Wednesday we came to an easy agreement to have lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant. Over a couple plates of spaghetti, I made a South Park reference (which you would’ve thought brilliant and hilarious if I could remember it). Without skipping a beat or looking up from his noodles, my dad said “Man, Family Guy is just so much better than South Park.” And on the drive home, by way of some divine signal, Billy Joel started playing on the radio, and we both sang along at the top of our lungs…

You may be right

I may be crazy

Oh, but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for

It’s too late to fight

It’s too late to change me

You may be wrong for all I know

But you may be right

So, there amidst all the disparity, I learned that in a world of change, transformation and adjustment, some of the best things stay the same. I learned that no cancer, chemo or any other crap could ever break the fundamental bonds my dad and I share (as silly as they may seem).

There on that beautiful, imperfect Wednesday, a father and daughter found the lunatic they’d each been looking for – in one another.





35 thoughts on “Billy Joel

  1. Beautifully written, Hannah. You made us feel your pain, the underlying despair, and the way you have reached up for the joy that remains available to you… God bless you, Baby! We are praying for your pop and for all of you. Xoxo

  2. We don’t even know each other – but I understand your battle. There are lessons in this for all of us . . . just love each other and celebrate this time you have.

  3. HJN you are an amazing writer. My heart goes out to you and your family for the pain you are experiencing. Hang in there. Love, Ms. O

  4. Beautifully written….hang tough and Don’t Stop Believin’… and your family are always in my prayers! ❤

  5. We say that life has a way to make us stronger or feel weaker, depending upon one’s point of view. What I read in your post is strength of family… When any really close family is pressed to adapt or except what life throws each of us, we all react the same, but differently based upon our limited experience. You and your dad, being close, it reminds me of a ‘sweet and sour’ dish. Since you are not able to separate the sweet from the sour each manages to express what they find appealing, never finding fault or dislikes… Love such closeness… I do… We can only relate by means of our own personal tragedies as to what you are both feeling and thinking… As I always say, life is more then what we see, that beyond this we must hope… Keep the Faith… I do..

  6. Hannah, you made me cry. Number one, your writing is beautiful and for the love of me, why don’t you write more often? I wish I had what you and your dad have. It is beautiful beyond belief. Love you.

  7. I’m a frustrated writer myself and love when a written word can move me. And you move me always. I feel like I’m in the moment with both of you. The bond you and dad share is palatable and for a moment I saw, felt, and tasted it. Thank you for taking us on the journey.

  8. Hannah-Banana – you have learned a valuable lesson and you wrote about it in a beautiful and brilliant fashion! Nothing can ever completely break the bonds we share with our loved ones…NOTHING. As always, my thoughts and prayers are with you all through this incredibly tough time.
    Love, Kris

  9. Hannah, you don’t know me, but I remember you. When your parents were havving their babies, my husband and I were too. Your mom and I both had one boy and two girls. I worked with your father at KFMB. We moved away many years ago, but San Diego and the people you care about never seem too far away. You, Your beautiful mom and of course your wonderful dad are such amazing writers. My prayers are wirth you and your family.

  10. Dear Hannah. You did it again. A beautiful,, loving tribute to your dad and his battle with this D—- cancer. Life is never a guarantee that people won’t change, and certainly having to undergo the radiation and chemotherapy, you dad is bound to change in some repects. But he is underneath it all, you dad. Just remember the good times and try to accept the fact that he is changing some, but did deep and you will find the old self buried in all that medical jumbo mumbo. Stay brave Hannah, the world is pulling for your dad and the entire family. Jackie

  11. What a wonderfully written and touching blog. Even as a Family Guy that dislikes South Park (and that particular Billy Joel song)…I love great writing. And this is an example of that. Thank you for sharing with us. Our thoughts are with you and your family.

  12. That was awesome. Very touching. Glad that you can see and appreciate those special moments in this difficult time. Those are the things that keep us all going. Hugs.

  13. Hannah, be stronger than what you have ever been for it will get worst. Just as long as you can look back and remember most of the good and shrug away the bad or worst end of this journey of your lives. The medication will make your father so different from what he was, he will be a monster and it is up to you and everyone else in your family to accept it It is not going to be easy at all, in fact, I am warning you ahead of time to be prepared. The steroids are to blame and it will help your father deal with the pain but it will be total hell for the rest of the family. When a blow out happens, please don’t drive, just go for a walk or run, but leave the house and dont’ argue. No one wins so don’t argue! Save your sanity and just leave the house until you all have calm down. Easier said than done, I know ,Been there, done that. I keep you and your family in my prayers and please know that I wish all of you well for always!

  14. Hannah, I had a few of the strange, funny, tearful and tug-a-war conversations with someone who was going through chemo and steroids. It is hard. You are handling it perfectly! That time in the car singing will be a forever memory. If possible, record some times together, I wish I had. I would love to hear them now. I wish you, Loren and the whole family(human and animals) a fun summer! Have some laugh out loud moments and belt out those songs!!!!

  15. Hannah,

    I admire your strength and great attitude . I lost my dad to brain cancer savor ever moment you have with him .
    My mom now has Alzheimer’s I have learned like you time is precious and songs come on to remind us of the past at the right time . I feel your frustration and sadness continue to enjoy your time and love him each day you are a wonderful daughter god bless xx ooo

  16. Hannah,
    I read your blog as I sat next to my son today while he was getting chemo for his brain cancer. While he has a different type than your dad, it is torture watching anyone go through this dreadful disease. My son is almost done with chemo he cannot wait to get on with his life (he is 24). While I smiled reading your blog today and the relationship you have with your dad, I cried when I saw your mom’s blog (we were home by then)…family is the most important thing at times like this and a sense of humor helps too. Sending prayers to your dad and your family to bring you strength and peace.

  17. That was a great piece. I know your dad only from our occasional fights on Facebook. We finally found a common ground just before his cancer. I have two sons about your age and I can’t imagine what he’s going through. I hope he is without pain and finds some peace through this unimaginable journey.

  18. I join you, dear Hannah and your sweet Dad, Loren in my great love of all songs by Billy Joel! Your stated verse from “You May Be Right” is a real tear-inspiring one, at this stressful time in you Dad’s Life situation and that of: dear Susie, your dear brother & sweet Britta. Keep the music comin’, keep holding both of your parents close to your heart – it will truly give them great strength, as you traverse this path in your young life! Love, Hugs & Prayers, Susan Wise

  19. Let’s not forget Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young.” Your Papa will be here for a very very long time LOL!!! I know I’d rather “laugh with that sinner, than cry with the saints…” (I miss my co-anchor in crime!!)
    Hannah – what you two share is something so special. I’m so glad you both know it. Much love, K

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