I am my father’s daughter, and it’s one of my most honored distinctions.
It is utterly insane to me that I only knew him for two-thirds of my life. He passed away extremely unexpectedly in July, 2001 when I was nineteen and my brother was fifteen. He had been on a two week trip to the Northern Tier in Canada with my brother and his Boy Scout troop. On the last night before returning home, his heart failed and he was gone.
I’ve lived the last ten years without seeing his face or hearing his voice. Happily, my parents invested in a video camera when my brother was born in 1985 so now we can just watch the videos and remember his voice and the way he walked, but yeah, videos. Meh. Very little consolation there.
I want to articulate my love for him so thoughtfully and poetically, in a way that does him profound honor. I don’t know if I ever will be able to do that to the extent that I feel justifies how fatherly and strong and mine he was. Let me just say that I miss him so, so much.
He was sweet and good. I never fully recognized his sincerity when I was growing up. I tended to see it as adult proselytizing, which it was to an extent. As I’m about to become a parent myself, I see now that you invest absolutely everything you have into the delicate process of giving your child the best. It is Love with a capital L. My dad lived that Love.
He was a mess. Like, a real mess. Major ADHD back when you didn’t do anything really constructive to help it. My mom, who is much much more aware of the realities of the way the mind works, reined him in and gave him some focus. She was the best thing that ever happened to him. I think he knew that.
He apparently was a pseudo-hippy. He grew his hair out for no apparent reason when he was in college. That was the extent of his hippy-hood. By that I mean he was a lovable dork.
He was awkwardly sweet and fidgety. He was constantly moving. There is this one picture of him and my cousin when she was a toddler. It’s at a family event and I can tell by the tentative restraint in his gesture that it’s all he can do to not to completely monopolize her. He loved babies. *Sigh.*
My mom was the only woman he ever loved and he was the only man she ever loved. They needed each other. When I was growing up, there was always complete security between them. Their balance was seamless.
Happy birthday to my sweet dad. You’re the one.