This is going to be a short post. The reason is my father died yesterday. He was eighty-four and finally succumbed from an illness that had been plaguing him for the last two years. He had a long and interesting life, and his last month had been difficult, to say the least, so his passing is a good thing. He’s not in pain any more.
I loved my father but he was a complex man. Far from soft and cuddly, he was disciplinarian who had mellowed somewhat in his later years. He lived by his own rules and didn’t care what others thought of him.
He was a contradiction in terms. He was both brilliant and ignorant, strong and weak, a family man and often the antithesis of what constituted family values. Growing up on the rough-and-tumble streets of Boston, he rooted for the Yankees and Montreal Canadians. His own father made him quit high school in order to go to work and yet he was smarter than many MBAs. He was a Navy man who spent time in the brink. He saved every penny he made and lived like a miser. He wanted me to go to college but gave me not a dime for tuition. He always claimed to be a teetotaler and looked down upon those who drank. ‘Allegedly’ he hadn’t had a drink in over forty years, and yet the first thing he asked for after coming home from the hospital was a gin martini with two olives. Go figure.
I’d come to terms with my father’s personality years ago and had forgiven him his many transgressions. He had many good sides to him and could be charismatic and warm when he wanted to. It made life easier for me to forgive and move on, especially during his last years. One thing that made him proud was to see his son become a published author. My mother, who passed away many years ago, was a big reader. Later in his life, my father had become a voracious reader of fiction, as well. He was proud that I was a writer, but always asking about the money end of it. “You make any money on that book?” he would always ask. In many ways, he equated literary success with monetary gains.
I hope he’s in a better place. Never a religious man, he allowed a chaplain to visit him in his final days. He prayed with his girlfriend, who was there with him to the very end.
My father died yesterday and that’s all I got for this blog. No need for condolences, as I know many of you are kind and caring people. Rather, if you’re so inclined, please say a quick prayer for the complex man who raised me.