Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Remembering My Father

On this day six years ago my father died.  He took his last breath as I was walking into his hospital room for what turned out to be my last visit.  I still think of him frequently and I see him every morning when I look in the mirror.  I am my father’s son.  I look just like him, although he did not have a beard, and I have inherited much of his solitary nature and personality.  Like many fathers and sons we did not always get along.  Over the years, however, we both mellowed and looking back I think we were closest during the last year or two of his life when he suffered from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases while residing in a nursing home.  Even in those last days he had a wry smile and quiet sense of humor that some people think I also have.  It is difficult to think of my father without also thinking of my sons.  As they grow older and approach their middle age, how do they see me?  Do they have a negative attitude towards me as I often did towards my father when I thought he had no clue and I knew everything?  Although my father was an uneducated man, in the end he had a quiet dignity and he died a good death.  I delivered the eulogy at his funeral and spoke words I never could have imagined speaking in my rebellious youth.  Most of us do not appreciate our parents.  It is usually in their old age and after we have acquired some of our own wisdom that we see them in a more positive light.  I look favorably on both my parents now even though I still don’t understand everything about them.  In my own struggles as a human being I sometimes reflect on their struggles as they lived their lives and it gives me a more compassionate and forgiving view of them.  All of us need to let go of the past and forgive our parent’s shortcomings as our own children must do with us.         

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