When a beloved father dies, and the son lives on

Jim Breuer’s dad died in his arms last week.

Breuer, who performs Friday and Saturday at the South Point, had been preparing for years for his dad’s passing from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

When the end came, the comedian, his wife and three kids, and other family gathered around Jim Breuer Sr. in their New Jersey home.

“Everyone came and said whatever they had to say,” Breuer said. “My youngest daughter was very close to him.

“I got to hold him the last second, and talk to him, and make him laugh. All the way up to the last breath.”

Jim Breuer Sr. was a lively World War II vet and a Long Island garbage truck driver. He met Sting and other stars through his boy. Breuer Sr. used to go on tour with his son, long ago.

“He was a terror on the road,” Breuer, 47, said with endearment. “I’d come off the stage, like, ‘Where’s my father?’ They’d say, ‘Oh, the wait staff took him to the bar across the street.’

“I’d go across the street. There’d be a crowd. He’d be holding court for hours.”

But then, Breuer Sr. bowed to mortality, and Breuer went on tour without his dad, and it ate him up.

“Every time I went on the road, I was tormented and tortured. I’d go to my (hotel) room and sob, ‘Am I doing the right thing? Should I be with him? Does he have good care?’

“My biggest sobs and crying sessions — I mean, primal-scream cries — were the last seven to 10 years leading up to the moment,” Breuer said.

“It was the fear of, ‘Oh my God, he’s not going to be here one day. Please don’t let him be alone when this happens. Please, I want to be by there by his side.’ ”

In 2008, Breuer, the former “SNL” and “Half Baked” star, took his dad, who was then in his 80s, on the road, dealing with Breuer Sr.’s inconvenience and gruffness, filming their loving bond for the well-received documentary, “More Than Me.”

So last week, they were at home, surrounded by love.

“When the last breath was gone, I just looked at him,” Breuer said.

“It wasn’t even a cry. It was a primal sob. All my fears of that moment were now gone. Everything I hoped for and wished for, happened.

“I held him.

“He wasn’t alone.

“I made him laugh.

“I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Breuer got the chance to tell his dad what he meant to him.

“I was like, ‘You taught me to be a man.

“ ‘You taught me how to face fear.

“ ‘You taught me how to be a father.

“ ‘You said your whole life you want me to have more than you. I have everything. Now I want you to have what I have.’

“I know he was listening.”

At the funeral, there were Navy uniforms and bagpipes.

“I was moved by how many people came to me and said, ‘You two changed our lives. You taught me how to be with my dad.’ ”

But someone else told Breuer he was having trouble even looking at his own near-death father, because of the sadness of it. Breuer counseled him.

“I said, ‘Listen. He’s still there. You don’t think he’s scared? You don’t think he senses that from you? Just go in there. Tackle it. It’s a part of life we’re not taught.’

“We’re trained to make money.

“We’re trained how to be the best we can be.

“But we’re not trained how to live life. Taking it on feels so much better than that stupid phone you have, or that house you have, or that car you’re driving.

“That stuff is just going to be a pile of dirt one day.”

Breuer is back on stage here this weekend. He is excited about his “solid, kick-ass” hour of new stand-up material.

“I went through an emotional roller coaster. I lost my father,” he said. “I’m going to rip it up” on stage.

And he knows now what has passed and what will be.

“It’s death. It’s sad,” Breuer said. “But overall, the cycle of life? Me and him — pulled it off.”

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20 – Tara Mack
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like