August 10, 1961 - May 25, 2019
Chris Gerhard Tuttahs
(Born Bradly Clark Seaborn)
How do you write an obituary for someone you didn’t know, but always wished you did? I guess I am about to figure that out. I think I will just tell you my story since we never had that opportunity to connect before it was too late.
You were my Dad once upon a time, and then you were gone. You were my Dad, but not long enough for me to get to know you, not long enough for me to grow to love you. I was however, old enough to know that I missed you.
I had one picture of you, just one, but it was the back of your head, I will never know your face. In my earlier years, I convinced myself you were Bon Jovi, because your hair in the photograph matched spot on with the hair in Mom’s cassette tape insert that she would keep in her glovebox. We would drive to town singing along to ‘Shot through the Heart’ while I bounced all around the front seat, day dreaming of the day we’d reunite, surely you missed me too. These car rides felt to be the only time we were all together, but you must’ve been too busy singing, for this didn’t happen. Just so you know, we did just fine. Mom is a wonderful mother, and I wish you could have seen that. She taught me how to be strong and to persevere; to be resilient and independent; and to love with empathy.
Mom got married when I was 6 and I was excited to finally have someone to call Dad; I was young enough that step-daughter really didn’t fit. He was my Dad, and I was his daughter and we had the best fun. I want you to know that we did alright, Mom, Dad and I; and I had a great childhood, I was given a good life. I also want you to know that you were never far from my thoughts, though. I was always curious even when I outgrew my theory that you were the lead singer in a rock band.
I learned to accept that something called addiction was the reason for your absence. Addiction is also hereditary and it found me probably around the same age as it found you, if not sooner. I made bad choices, I made questionable friends, and found love in not-so-loving relationships. I became absent much like you. My family lost me, and I lost myself for a while. I don’t regret that time completely, I did have a lot of fun, but knowing what I know now, I wish I had spent that time setting myself up for a less challenging future. I did manage to turn my life around and break that cycle when having my children.
You and I briefly ‘met’ shortly after I had my first son. The timing was tragic, as we had both lost someone we barely knew, me maybe less than you. You lost a son, and I lost a half-brother; a sibling I always wished I had, and at 25 years of age, I was soon to meet. This meeting was regrettably a little too late. I named my second son after him, just so you know, and have recently found out that he is also named after you. In seeing you I was hopeful, hopeful that you would find me in the crowd, maybe give me a hug, and I know I put up a wall but I hoped you would see through it. I was left with disappointment, not at your appearance - you were exactly what an addict would look like, black eye and all; sure I was disappointed when you looked passed me and said, “I’ve had enough of this.” - I understood this was probably a time of regret for you, losing a child. It was what you didn’t say that disappointed me the most. As I stood there holding your first grandchild, you didn’t even say hello. In fact, you didn’t even look. Having finally laid my eyes on you, although brief, and watching you walk out of the chapel, I thought I could finally forget you.
It wasn’t until I received notice of your passing that I realized I might not have been ready for you to depart. Since you’ve been gone, I was given bits of information that really isn’t information at all. I still don’t know who you were. I still don’t know what you look like. What I do know is that death has a way of making you reflect on life and there can be a lot of unpleasantness in that reflection. There seemed to be a lot of sadness in both how you lived and how you died, but at least we can learn from that sadness to make a better life for ourselves and appreciate the good things more. Even though we have to look really hard for it sometimes, there is truth in the saying that you can always find some positive in the negative. If not for you, there wouldn’t be me, and for that I thank you. I’m honouring my sadness and loss for what could’ve been, and I am sorry that I didn’t take the initiative myself to reach out to you when you might have needed someone the most. In all of this, I have come to realize that I still miss you.
Chris was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and adopted by loving parents Gunter and Helga Tuttahs. He was raised in Winnipeg and Balmoral, Manitoba. He lived in Winnipeg for most of his adult life until his passing. He is predeceased by his mother Helga and son Bradley, and survived by his father Gunter, daughter Kristin, grandsons Liam and Dillan, brother Peter, nephew James, nieces Samantha and Melissa, great niece Sara, great nephews Jayden and Jorden.
Thank you to Integrity Cremation & Funeral Planning.
Addiction can happen to anyone. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Addiction Foundation of Manitoba or any related cause.
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