Alan Thicke‘s son Carter is still coming to terms with the loss of his father.
On Dec. 13, Alan complained of chest pains while playing hockey with Carter at Pickwick Gardens skating rink in Burbank, California. Shortly after being taken to the hospital, Alan died. He was 69.
Speaking with Entertainment Tonight Canada, Carter recalled the events leading up to his father’s death — and revealed that he’s still processing his absence.
“It’s kind of one of those things, you don’t really know if it has set in yet,” Carter said about the Growing Pains actor’s death not yet setting in. “Driving home is kind of weird. You think you’re going to come into the drive and come into the house and he’s going to be there and he’s not. So I don’t think it’s something that’s necessarily set in in that way.”
“There’s always that kind of that hope that, ‘Oh, it’s a crappy dream, it’s gonna be fine,’ but yeah … I think that next day [after his death] was pretty rough for me. Definitely,” said Carter, who was able to give him one final hug and say “I love you” before he was taken to the hospital.
“He was my go to for everything, any advice I needed … he was like the perfect dad,” added Carter. “Anything I ever needed, he was there for.”
Alan’s youngest son also opened up about the important life — and industry — lesson that his father passed onto him.
“Don’t piss anyone off,” Carter said about the Hollywood advice Alan told him. “That was his biggest lesson, because I can’t think of anyone who he pissed off, or had a bad relationship with in this town — which is very hard to do, as I’ve been learning, and as I’ve heard … I think his big thing was just to be nice to everyone, even if you hate the person, give ’em a fake smile and just be nice. ‘Make it work’ was one of the biggest things he would say for everything, whether it was me fighting with my mom or whatever, it was, ‘Make it work,’ always. And that was just something he did, and I think that’s why he had the great relationships and friendships that he’s had, and the respect he’s had.”
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According to the actor’s official death certificate, the Canadian native died of a “ruptured aorta” and a “standard type A aortic dissection.”
Alan’s daughter-in-law Dolly — who is married to Brennan — took to Facebook to describe the scene at the memorial. Attendees included the Growing Pains cast, Bob Saget, Bill Maher, Alex Trebek and more.
“Tonight’s memorial for Alan was just about perfect,” Dolly wrote on Sunday. “So much family and so many historic friends came out to remember our beloved father-figure.”