Today I examine the good in my dad. I don’t think he reads this, and I don’t think that it would be a great idea for him to read it. The reasons are too wrapped up in his story, which is not my story to tell. I will say that I wish he were healthy and whole.
I still have hope, Dad, that you will feel some peace, soon. I am so proud of you for not working hard, despite all the times the doctors have failed you. I am so proud of you for trusting your amazing wife and the new doctors who seem to have their hearts in a better place.
I don’t like to say that anyone “gave” me traits, because, beyond brown eyes and your mother’s skin, I have worked hard to become the person I am. I do see your stubbornness in myself. We share a passion and focus that allows us to give ourselves over to wonderful “projects” like poetry, music, even movies. We also share an ability to tunnel our vision in a way that can produce amazing results or make us the last to realize that we have been wrong.
I love that you appreciate my optimism and my willingness to open up that tunnel vision if I suspect that I’ve been wrong. I’m so glad that you can love that about me, even though you seem to revel in pessimism.
I love that you watch all of the special features on DVDs you’ve enjoyed.
I love that you have recorded your voice singing your daughters’ favorite songs, and songs for your grandchildren, too. I love that you worked so hard to get those songs just right, and that you sent them off to us, even though you can still point out everything that you don’t like about the arrangements. You may be able to hear every note that required computerized correcting, but I just hear my Daddy singing me a lullabye. [Billy Joel’s “Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)” – my dad has very particular taste.]
I love that you work so hard to find a point of contact with your very particular taste in music and movies and literature with your daughters’ less <ahem> discerning taste.
I love that you have been so ready to love again, after a lifetime of disappointment–my incredible stepmother, Nathan, the grandson you haven’t met, yet.
Thank you for Uncle Walt [Whitman], Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. For telling me to write and revise my own poetry, and taking my writing as seriously as I did, even when I was still learning to spell.
Thank you for all those hours around the piano or guitar with The Beatles, Les Mis, Christmas carols, and even Disney songs, Sarah McLaughlin, Ani DiFranco and Liz Phair.
Thank you for explaining what makes a good cup of coffee.
Thank you for sharing the novels you love, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, Victor Hugo, and the novels you never had a chance to read, by Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, the Brontes, Dickens.
Thank you for sharing so many stories from your own life and our time together, even if that happens over the phone, now.
Thank you for encouraging me to explore worlds you knew, before I did, that you would never see. Thank you for waiting until I had grown up to show any sign of regret that you could not follow me.
I wish that you could visit my world, because I live in a safe world, now, surrounded by peace and respect.
I carry you in my heart, always.