On February 25th of this year, I lost my father. 




This will go down in the history of my life as one of the most painful days I have ever experienced. He was very ill. He has been ill for some years. He was in and out of hospitals the past couple of those years. As a family, we knew the worst could happen. But my father would always rally. He would make these remarkable comebacks. And so it was this time too. He was set to be released that very day. He was in great spirits. He sounded good. Just two days prior we had spent 5 hours on the phone together. My guard was down. All of our guards were down. 

I have been....dreading this blog ever since. I wasn't sure what I wanted to write. I wasn't sure how much of this emmence event was...IS... too personal for an art blog. And yet...I feel compelled to write about it. It has been weighing on me, to put words down. I don't think I can continue to move forward without doing so. 

On the day of my father's memorial service, I gave his eulogy. In fact, I was pretty adamant from the moment it had all sunk in that it was up to me, the eldest of his four daughters, to do so. I had the feeling of needing to and having to and wanting to do it in the back of my mind for years. My father was an eloquent speaker. He gave the eulogy at his father's funeral, and he was...perfect. I felt my father deserved the same. 

I am NOT a public speaker. In fact, the list of my greatest fears is as follows: 

- pregnancy

-plane crashes

-public speaking

-deep, open, ocean waters. 

So, it's kind of right up there in the middle of defcon 5 scenarios for me. Few things give me greater anxiety. I can't even stand to be picked for audience participation during a stage play or improv show. I struggle sharing ideas in big corporate meetings. I don't give strangers compliements often, even if I want to. Sweat, nausea, my throat closing up, blushing, brain fog, that's what happens to me when I try and speak in a public situation. 

But I knew I had to do it. It FELT right. It felt like I owed it to him. And so i gathered my thoughts, and wrote them down, and....somehow...SOMEHOW, got through it. 

I hesitated to share his eulogy on the blog. Again, I just don't know if it is too personal a thing to share. But friends and family members have encouraged me to do so. Some of them want a copy of my words out there, either for posterity or for their own record. I promised them I would share the words afterwards and have yet to do so. Also, as I craft this blog now, in an attempt to put yet again into words what my father meant to me, what his loss does to me, I...just don't think I am capable of saying it in any other form as I had said it that day. 

So, here it is. Here is what I said about my father. Perhaps getting in out there in this format helps me to move forward. maybe it helps my loved ones who would like to see these words again. I fee the need to get out from under the weight of thinking about writing about it in order to continue moving forward.

I have left certain things capped and bolded as those were my cues for vocal inflection. I don't feel the need to go back and edit for the sake of this format. 


Michael Gerard Davis (Dec 10th, 1950 - Feb 25th, 2019)


I have been thinking long and hard about what to say about my father. So much could be said about him, to the point where one could write an entire book, and a long book at that. He was...complex, deep, nuanced, and incredibly unique. When strangers asked me about my father, I would say “My father is not a man. My father is a FORCE OF NATURE.”


He could blow into a room like a hurricane, or warm it like a sunny day. He could be like a thunderstorm or like a rainbow after the clouds parted. He was brilliant, sharp, witty, sarcastic, and snarky. He was stubborn, obsessive, and at times downright IMPOSSIBLE. He was bombastic, crass, and blunt. He was also creative, meticulous, charming, romantic, loving, and incredibly endearing.


My father adored being adored. He loved “holding court” at a campfire, or around a dining room table, or in one of his most beloved places, his HooDoo Lounge. There he would pontificate on all of the things he researched, discovered, and taught himself over the years, and he would educate all those around him, whether they wanted this education or not. One of his favorite things to say to just about anyone and everyone was “I have FORGOTTEN more about rock and roll than you will ever KNOW.” And you know what? every instance he was probably right.


He was “right” a lot. And that could be very infuriating at times. He could dance circles around you on almost every subject. And even when you disagreed with him, he still managed to hit you over the head with some kind of truth bomb that you knew was right.


My dad raised four girls. What a death defying feat in and of itself. He used to say “I am a feminist, because I don’t have a choice. Between my wife and girls, there would be a mutiny if I wasn’t.” While that was a joke, his attitude on child rearing was so incredibly impactful, and it allowed us all to blossom into well rounded, ambitious children, teens, and adults. Yes, as little girls we played with dolls and wore pretty dresses, but he reminded us that we really could do ANYTHING, and enjoy EVERYTHING. There were no barriers.


“Do you want to play baseball? Not only will I support you, I’ll coach you. You are the only girl in your league? Isn’t that AMAZING? Hockey? Sure thing! You want to learn horseback riding? Here’s a horse! You want to play guitar? Here are lessons.” This was his attitude all throughout our lives. He never saw things as a “boys” thing or a “girls” thing, just things, and he supported us in every endeavor we wanted to learn.


My father loved children. He loved learning. He LOVED teaching. He loved guiding and counseling and discovering things. He loved sharing what he discovered. He never stopped. He was tireless in his hobbies, his passions, and his advocacy of the welfare and well being of children. This was felt in his daughters, in the friends of his daughters. It was felt by his grandchildren. It was felt in so many of the lives he touched as a Child Welfare Specialist. What an incredible thing that is, when you think about it. Here is a man who had his hands FULL with a large family of his own. And yet he dedicated his career and his life to helping as many other families as he possibly could. What a hard job THAT was, being on the front lines of families in distress, of children in need. And he took it in stride and kept going, kept helping, for as long as he possibly could.


The impact my father had on me, as a person, as a child, as an adult, can’t possibly be articulated well enough today. There is not enough time in the world for me to stand here and explain to you all what he gave ME. He has shaped every single aspect of my life.


My love of music, particularly my appreciation for classical music, is all thanks to what he and my mother gave us as children. What a gift that was, what an absolute gift, to be taught how to appreciate, collect, and revere something that is... so essential to the human condition. He devoured music. He lived and breathed and fed off of it. He was a TERRIBLE musician. Boy, did he try here and there over the years, but the poor man could barely bang out a tune. But he appreciated it so deeply and felt it so strongly that he was his own walking musical encyclopedia. Country, punk, rock, baroque, jazz, opera, grunge, these were all languages my father was supremely fluent in.


His love of history bled right on through to me, making that my choice of college degree. It also lead us all on this...incredibly weird, wacky adventure we like to call the Wildcats. It began as an interesting hobby, civil war reenacting,  and somehow ended up as something of a family legacy. And once I had all my dear friends roped in, my father could entertain and endear himself to all of them as well. Nights around campfires, with jokes and songs and countless bonding time was all thanks to this thing he started. We were friends first, but this brought us all so much closer together. And he was our Captain.


My love of literature, comedy, traveling, adventure...these are all things my father gave to me. My wit, my sense of humor, even my terrible temper, are all inherited. That...laser focus he had...that ability to block out the world and just do...whatever his thing was at the time...the trains, the guitars, the vinyl collecting? That learned focus is how I do my art.


And let’s talk about that art just briefly. I think just about any child aspires to make their parents proud. And there are many things I think my parents have been proud of us girls for. But the support, the pride, the joy my father expressed over my artwork? I absolutely cannot articulate what that meant to me. It is such a hard gig to take on. It’s so volatile and insecure and...not lucrative. And yet my father would say to me over and over “Elizabeth, keep doing this. Do this as LONG as you possibly can. Do this until you just can’t possibly do it anymore.” To have that kind of encouragement and support, from both parents to be sure, but from my father, my BIGGEST fan, my biggest have him still coaching me at every opportunity, I cannot express my gratitude for what an absolute GIFT that was. I will never be able to thank him enough for that.


My father was a handful. He kept my mother running. He drove her crazy sometimes. But he adored her. He used to tell us often that he never had to win the lottery, because he won it the day he married her. He canonized her as a saint recently. I am not sure if it counts, as he wasn’t ordained, but I am sure if anyone could find a loophole, or successfully argue his case to the powers that be, HE could. He inherited the strong sense of family, unity, and values from his parents, and passed it along to all of us, making us sisters unified, strong, intimate, and so very dear to each other.


While today is immensely sad, and our hearts are shattered, and the hole he leaves behind is too large, and his legacy WAY too looming, I know he would also want us to celebrate him. He LOVED being celebrated. Being the center of attention was perhaps his favorite thing of all. And for a man as colorful, as diverse, as enchanting as he was and IS, it isn’t difficult to hold him there, at the center of our attention….and celebrate him, always, and the amazing things he taught us.


I am still processing my Dad being gone. I probably will be for a long time. Some days are good. Some days are bad. I am not sure I will ever quite be over it. This type of loss is one that moves with one through life versus it being something one moves past. My Dad has always, on some level been reflected in my art. He continues to be, and I am sure will further still as I move through my career as an artist. Indeed in almost everything I do I carry him forward with me. I just wish we could still talk for 5 hours on the phone now and then.