Father’s Day

It’s happy Father’s Day all over the U.S.A. but some of the children are not so happy.

I just lost my father last Wednesday, watched as his coffin was lowered into the ground. That makes it real! His body needed to leave since it was wracked by lymphoma, the cancer enlarging his spleen which pushed on his stomach which left him with little appetite. Going out to eat was his final pleasure in life. Going to Bob Evans, for example, was a social occasion for him and he quickly made favorites of the pretty young waitresses. I suppose they looked upon him as a grandfather or just a nice old man.

He was a nice old man. Not much of a talker, though. I sometimes wondered what our father-daughter karma was but now I think Norman Beiser was a steady listener for me. Thank you, dad, wherever you are!

Now I am a member of the Adult Orphan Society. I am 65, after all, and own a home on my own and mother furry animals rather than children. I am an adult who can sort through my thoughts and emotions, who writes about them, and shares communication with others.

One writing friend does not speak to her father because he was cruel to her in her childhood. I know another young father who is a baby daddy and has a kid by two different women, neither of whom he is married to. When I asked my own father about my early childhood, he remembered little. “I worked two jobs,” he informed me, back in the early and mid 1950’s. He also met another woman and, for this, my mother divorced him. They were too young to be married with three children. Thankfully, my mother’s retired German schoolteacher mother had saved her pennies and helped her out until she met and married my stepfather.

So fathers can vary, as do people of any age or sex. Responsibility is the word I think of when I think of a good father. In the normal realm, responsibility consists of earning money, making sure your children are fed, supporting your wife. My biological father did all of this until I was three. That was a very long time ago. I took my mother’s side for decades in my early feminist days. After I was involved in my own intimate relationships, I realized the actual truth was often something other than either partner’s view of the truth. So I forgive both my parents for the decisions they made along the way. For I am no better.

On this Hallmark day of sappy cards, grilling out, etc., I ask that we all pause, reflect a bit deeper, and really mean Happy Fathers Day when we say (write) it.

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10 responses to “Father’s Day

  1. Love this picture of your Dad. I love how you were able to come to this place of reconciliation with your Dad – that you realized that life is complicated and relationships more nuanced than we can imagine, it’s such a gift that you were able to have a relationship ship with your Dad in later years. This will give you peace in the future.

    • dear Ellen, thanks for responding to this post. I’ve always loved the word ‘nuanced.’ Yes, that explains a lot about relationships! Gifts, peace–I’ll take them both. Thank you 🙂

  2. Loved it.

    • Rashma, serious sister of the written word: your loving it means a lot to me. I know how hard you work at your writing. Thank you!

  3. This is perfect! It shows how we mature and live our lives we learn to accept our parents (and maybe everyone) for who and what they are. He was a “steady listener,” which is not a small thing. As time goes on, you will be more and more grateful for that grace and forgiveness and for your times with your dad at Bob Evans.

  4. Well, Sandy, I don’t know about perfect but his death did compel me to dive into a deep reflection. Grace, forgiveness…yes. Bob Evans? I’ll never think of that restaurant the same again. Appreciate your commenting!

  5. I realized the real truth was often something other….yes, our perspectives need to walk around the circle and see ..anew!
    Am glad he listened ….you are fascinating…..am glad to meet you at Bob Evans? Love you

  6. Grateful for your generosity in being there and here and seemingly everywhere in the cosmos, Ruthanne! Phebe

  7. You remind me of a stone in a creek, smoothed and shiny by the life the flows surounding you. Thank you for your insight.

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