Dear Dad

Posted: June 18, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Dear Dad,

It’s Father’s Day this weekend. I wanted you to know that I am fine. We are all fine.

Here’s a picture of some of us on my 55th birthday. This was up at Dodie’s house when we were fishing in our pajamas:

Fishin' in our jammies.

You can see that Emma is doing great. I’m glad you got to meet her before you left.

I don’t miss you as much as I did at first  because I know you are fine and you are always with me and it was your time to go. That is the natural order of things and as much as I may not like it, that’s just the way things are. You were always more of a realist and I was always more of an idealist. Maybe I am finally learning a balance here.

I am happy, Dad. I really am.  I am trying to keep my sentences short and to the point because it always bothered you when I would ramble on and take forever to make my point. I still often forget my point mid-sentence. That hasn’t changed.

I am doing the best that I can on the promise I made to you before you died to take care of everyone. When you first asked me to do that, I have to admit I was a bit annoyed. I mean, aren’t they all old enough to look out for themselves? But soon I learned that’s not what you meant.

You meant to make sure the family stays together, no matter what and I’m doing that. I could be better at it, but I am doing it. It is much harder than I thought.

Mom is doing great. This is a picture of us taken about a year or so ago:

She’s still gorgeous and kicking some butt every day. We are always there for her and she wants for nothing.

Your beloved Sadie is good. She’s 10 now but still acts like a puppy. After you died, she spent the next 3 days waiting at the front door for you to return. That was hard to watch, but she eventually settled down. I took this picture of her recently:

Miss Sadie

I miss the smell of your cigars. I think of you every time I smell one. I will still have one once in a while and I remember sitting out in the backyard with you and our cigars and the brandy. Oh, the brandy! I developed a taste for it but hardly ever drink because I have no tolerance. In my mind I can drink like you and still stay sober, but only in my mind.

Growing up and getting older, I would often ask myself when I had a difficult decision to make “What would my Dad do?” and that would help guide me. I no longer do that. Now I ask myself “What should I do?’ because I found my own voice and my own conscience, just like you wanted me to. I found it Dad, I found it and I’ve kept it and I will never let it go. I promise.

I am happy. I am writing and living my life from my heart, just like you told me to. I still struggle to balance that out with being logical and fair, but I am getting there.

I finally learned that everything is not a battle. I know, you must be shocked to hear that, but it’s true. I now pick them carefully and with much thought. I fight for the things I am passionate about and I don’t back down, Dad. I don’t back down until it’s done.

We talk of you often and miss you, but I still see you every time we all get together. I see you working out in the yard in your jeans, or starting another food fight at the dinner table, or giving me that goofy smile that would make me laugh so hard I would have to leave the table. I see you at the head of the table with a plate full of food and making sure everyone else had a full plate before you started eating.

I see you stringing up the Christmas tree lights and I hear you swearing because they are all tangled up and we all have to listen to your lecture about doing things properly the first time and sticking with it until it was done.

This was an annual lecture.

I am happy with my business and where I work. I finally found a place where I belong and where my strong personality is enjoyed and welcomed and not crushed and shoved to the corner. After all the years of working with you, I still run my business on many of the principles you taught me.

I hate to tell you this, but computers are still here and they weren’t the end of our civilization like you said they would be.

I learned kindness from you when it was a very hot summer day and there were all of these people working in our yard. You had hired them when you saw them looking for work in our very white and affluent neighborhood. You were the only person that found work for them to do that day. They were Mexicans and you worked along side of them all day long and then made sure they ate by buying them food and giving them plenty of water.

You fed them before you ate anything to make sure there was enough for them.

I found out years later that you didn’t have the money to pay them and you didn’t need the work done, but they were trying to feed their families, so you helped them and allowed them to keep their pride.

I learned patience from you when you spent hours and hours every week helping me with my homework. I didn’t understand math and you did. I remember the flash cards you would hold up and no matter how many times I got the answer wrong, you would tell me to try again.

I learned tolerance when I told you of the spiritual path I wanted to travel rather than go to college. You didn’t understand it or agree with it, but you asked me if that was what I wanted to do. I told you it was. You said you would help me and you did. All you cared about was that I was happy and doing what I wanted to do even if you didn’t think it was the right choice.

It was.

I learned to be brave when I saw you, in your early 60’s and with a bad leg, run across four lanes of traffic to help a young woman who was being harassed and bothered by six young and strong bikers. Without a moments thought of your own safety, you ran to her aid and stood up to them. I watched in awe and horror from across the street in the safety of the office as they yelled at you and made hand gestures and cursed you. You stood in front of her and never said a word. Before any of us could help you, they took off and you walked with her for 1/2 mile to her car and made sure she drove off safely.

You didn’t say a word when you came back no matter how much we asked you about it. You shrugged it off.

I learned compassion from you. I remember sitting in the living room with you and Mom and seeing the riots in the 60’s and not understanding any of it. I had never seen violence before and you sat with me while I watched. I did not understand.

I watched as the war in Viet Nam came into our living room every night. You sat with me while I watched with your arm around my shoulder and I did not understand.

You were slowly allowing the real world to come into my life to prepare me for it. You knew it was time. I asked you why these people rioted and you told me that they were angry because they had not been treated right. I said the war was wrong but they shouldn’t be burning the American flag. You told me you fought in the war just so they could burn it. You hated it but you would defend their right to do it.

I always listened to you even when I pretended I didn’t. I heard every word you said, I remember every hug you gave me and every kind word you spoke to me. You were so patient with me and let me make my own decisions and find my own way even if you didn’t agree. You never told me who I had to be or what I had to do. You stood by me in your quiet way and let me figure things out for myself.

I grew up to be independent and to think for myself, just like you wanted me to. You forgot to tell me how much trouble that would cause for me. I guess it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission after all.

I still grieve a bit when I meet people who weren’t as fortunate as me to have the family I have. I never realized while I was growing up how lucky and blessed I was. The older I get, the more I appreciate you and Mom and everything you gave us.

I am proud to know that I am my father’s daughter.

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Comments
  1. joe lewis says:

    ok then