Tears For A Good Father

TEARS FOR A GOOD FATHER

 

            Today’s Parade section of the LA Times has a
story on the BackPage by Harlan Coben with the title I appropriated from him.
If you hadn’t read it, I recommend it to you. Like some of you of more mature
vintage, I lost my father almost eight years ago. And like many sons, I sadly
did not fully appreciate him during his lifetime. Don’t misunderstand – ours was
not the stormy relationship of which many novels are written. Nor did I ever
feel that he didn’t love me – he was always clear on that score. I always knew
that if I were to ask of him to give me anything that was in his power to give,
he would sacrifice his own needs to make my wish come true.

 

            Our problem
was more of communication and style. I grew up spending very little time with
him. He worked full time during the day, and attended the university at night.
After that, he always worked two jobs so he could save enough to have “a little
left for a rainy day.” Growing up during the Depression, then surviving the traumas
of World War II fighting as a partisan, he met my mother after suffering a
German bullet in his abdomen that exited through his thigh. She was from a well
to do city family, raised by governesses, and he a country boy raised in a
vineyard. Under different circumstances, they probably would not have gotten
together, but war produces many unlikely unions.

 

            As much as
I knew he loved me, he had difficulty in talking with me, and when he did, it
was usually a lecture about his expectations of me, or advice on how to conduct
my life. (It’s scary how often I find myself doing the same with my son,
despite my best efforts at trying to short circuit this pattern.)  I ended up spending 98% of my formative years
with my mother, as well as my mother’s mother and mother’s sister. Clearly, my
father was totally outnumbered in this relationship, and it wasn’t until much
later in my life that I realized how subtly and un-subtly I was influenced in
my perception of him by the (mostly) quiet warfare they waged with each other.

           

            Young
people can be incredibly intolerant of the flaws of others, and hypocritically unaware
when they harbor some of the same traits they find so disturbing in another. I’ve
reached the stage in my life that allows me to not only recognize the huge
flaws that exist in all of us, but also to have the capacity to forgive those
flaws in those we need to see as mostly perfect – our parents.  Sadly, like many in demanding professions, I’ve
suffered through a long period of arrested maturity. Now that I can finally
recognize how truly wonderful a father Fate had given me, I no longer have the
capacity to fully express my admiration of him to his face. I can only hope
that my love for him came through sufficiently during the callow years of my
life, and the pride he took in my accomplishments that his support made
possible was sufficient reward for his efforts. 
Finally, I at least have a chance to try and rectify with my son what I
perceived as short-comings in my paternal relationship. I can only hope he will
be more generous in his understanding of me. 
Happy Father’s Day to you all!

J.

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13 Responses to Tears For A Good Father

  1. Stephen Craig says:

    Jorge, My friend, This afternoon while out for a walk there were many thoughts of my Father and my son. Far too many to write here and now. Good thoughts and memories that cause a close moment and feeling that words can not describe. A very happy Father\’s day to you and, of course, as ever be well. Stephen Craig Rowe

  2. sweeti's says:

    Fathersday…i remember my dad as a hardworking man in the fields. I cant remember i sat on his lap once. Wierd nah?My dad was a person that was interested in the nature and culture of the whole world.But he never did one trip.even In Ireland. My dad is with me,.and i talk to him silently….Watch this dad….trough my eyes.Am i wierd????maybe i amMJ

  3. sweeti's says:

    Jorge u write with so much respect for ur father. He worked hard and even studied same time.THumbs up…U can be proud. But as u say…u missed him during ur growing up, as so many kids do…when dads work in foreign coutriesas i know from my friends in the east TCMJ

  4. Beth says:

    A wonderful tribute for your father, and believe me he knew how much you loved and respected him. I still miss my father a lot after so many years.

  5. J says:

    Good fathers and mothers are a blessing we often realize more and more as we mature. They knew all along we were wet behind the ears! It seems the great lessons are learned in time. As loving parents we have to expect the dawning of wisdom will sometimes occur after our sunset. So it is that sunsets are so beautiful.

  6. Fenix says:

    Hi Jorge: Thanks for the visit. I am in NJ, in July I will go to Spain for three weeks. My written English improved a lot of but my spoken English is awful. Hugs

  7. Holy says:

    Relative to Dads, I heard a speaker at a retreat confess a few weeks back that his relationhip with his father has vastly improved since his Dad\’s death. A bit tongue in cheek, but he was also getting at the fact that the relationship is now purely a soul connection rather than an egoic struggle such that it is eternal and now entirely more authentic.And I\’m sure your sins are small in your son\’s eyes. Take care!

  8. redvelvet says:

    Beautiful . . .

  9. Marge says:

    This is the poignant reality many of us face in our later years, Jorge; we grow into full appreciation of our parents after they\’re no longer with us. My rational side now wars with my irrational side as I endeavor to maintain spiritual ties with my parents.Sadly, I don\’t think this is a thing which can be taught…merely experienced as it happens, and embraced as we choose to do.So it goes, my friend…

  10. Jana says:

    Hi Jorge!What a story about your father and how he met your mother and your appreciation for him. With my father I have love hate relationship. I wish I could just say the love.PS: thank you for wishing happy 4th of July!!!! I did have a good time with food and family. 🙂

  11. Holy says:

    Stopping by for some drive-by inspiration….I see the summer sabbatical sign might be up. Hope all is well and that you are travelling or drinking some fine wine on your back deck rather than working too much this summer.

  12. Brian says:

    I only just found this, and it was hard to read. We lost Dad three years ago, he was ready to go and as was usual with him, prepared everything so we wouldn\’t have the burden. Louis lost his longer ago and under more sudden and sadder circumstances, but we both feel the large presence of men who, like yours, may not have been so forthcoming in life. I am not the father to my sons that mine was to me, but hope I have passed on his honesty, integrity, and sense of duty.

  13. Linda says:

    Thank you Jorge for your good advice. Why father\’s role is so different and sometimes so "strange" in children\’s view, especially during our growing time?Now I think I know what I should do. But pity is why we just start to cherish when things are not besides us?Is that shame?

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