As always, I am (re) publishing the tribute I wrote to my father in 2012. He taught me such meaningful lessons about life and love. He was a smart man, though I hadn’t known him in a long time.
I send you love. I hope you have been fortunate enough to have (have) a Father whom you have been able to respect and who has loved you. If you haven’t been so blessed, I hope you can feel my arms around you. Bp
Another Father’s Day without my father, who left us in 2012.
He was a good man, my father. Her last years were difficult, full of many medical problems and a woman who could not kindly face her physical and emotional challenges.
So when Dad left, I was glad for him.
I imagine that now I am free from responsibilities and annoyances, enjoying a Stoli on ice in one hand and a remote control in the other, seeing me live my life full of love and meaning … and being happy for me. I know he’s proud of me and that means it all.
While some judged how my father lived after retirement – he didn’t play golf, didn’t take classes or volunteer – I understood. My father did his job in this life, and he did it well. He was a typical man of the 50’s who focused most of his life on his responsibilities.
During the first half of his adult life, my father took care of my narcissistic, shopping-addicted mother, my brother, and me. And the second half of his life he took care of his new wife, with whom he spent more than 20 happy years. At age 7, Dad became very ill and began a downward spiral. Unfortunately, after that, his life was pretty bad.
Below is an article I wrote shortly after my father’s death. I wanted to express who he was and how much he loved this intelligent, fair, and affectionate man with the integrity you would like to see in everyone you know. I think you will love him as much as I do.
I miss you so much dad. Happy Father’s Day.
PS: I would love to know about your father. And love to all the parents out there!
My father died. There … I said it out loud. Even though I was by his side and I saw him take his last breath, it was hard for me to believe that he was gone forever. Forever.
I want to honor this honorable man very much. I also want to pass on some of your life tips. I know he would kick me out of doing this. Not only because receiving the appreciation of the audience is very nice, but because it validates that he did a good job teaching me. (Yes … I was listening, Dad!)
Now I see that Melvin took his father’s job very seriously. He made a good living. He set a strong and positive example. He taught us something every day. He raised two hardworking and nice people.
I also see that he loved me deeply. I didn’t realize it at all until the last years of his life.
My father was a typical man of the 50’s and showing emotion was like speaking a language he never learned. However, as a side effect of his blows, the father was less able to control his emotions. He started telling me he was proud of me. He told me he loved me. And as he did so, he drowned and even cried.
Dad also showed a great deal of love and appreciation for the man I chose to marry.
When I got married at age 47, my father had given up on the idea of ever hooking up with a man.
He stopped asking what was “going on.” My wedding fund had been dissolved in another account. I was worried (sometimes out loud) that I would never have anyone to take care of me.
This has always made me very angry. I knew my dad thought I wasn’t whole without a husband. He also thought that he could not attract any of them because he was doing something very wrong.
After receiving the news of my upcoming wedding, my dear father said to my brother, “I hope she doesn’t sink this one!” After my brother told me this (which was stupid that only one man would do), I was angry with my father for at least a year.
(Besides, when I first talked to my dad about my wedding, here’s what he said: You can dress in white, honey. Don’t worry … I won’t tell anyone. That was the fun, funny side of my dad!)
Almost when Melvin had to walk down the aisle, now that I was sharing my life with an amazing man, I began to understand. My Pops was scared of me. I knew life was hard. (See below.) I wanted to be happy and I knew how much it would enrich my life to have a good partner. I didn’t want to have to face every event, every decision, and every success in my life without a No. 1 fan.
At age 47, I learned that my father was even smarter than I was. Even though I lived around Father Knows Best times, I knew something I didn’t know. Life is better with a partner who makes you feel safe and special and, yes, cared for.
Unfortunately, he needed his death to help me realize something very important about my father: he was the man I wanted to be. Although there were many ways in which he marked me and disappointed me, my father achieved exactly what he set out to do in life: to be a good father.
As in the movies, when Dad found out his time with us was over, he called Larry and whispered in her ear. He asked me to promise to take care of me. I did not feel a single wrath; only gratitude and love.
My dad was just doing his job.
So … here are some of the things I learned from my dad. You probably know a lot of them, but maybe one or two will help you calibrate your life compass the way they do every day.
- Use soap.
- Turn off the lights.
- Do not pet stray dogs.
- Do not change lanes at an intersection.
- There is no free lunch.
- Good neighbors come in all colors.
- Don’t work on Yom Kippur.
- Life is hard.
- Keep your word.
- Matzo Brei is better with sugar.
- Close the cabinet doors.
- Don’t sweat the little things. (The only advice she gave Larry and me before our wedding.)
- Sarcasm is an undervalued form of communication.
- Always fill the tray if you grab the last ice cube.
- Your integrity is everything.
- No matter what you do to make a living, if you work hard you deserve respect.
- Working for justice.
- Get what you pay for.
- There are a lot of people who suffer and you can’t ignore them.
- Respect is earned.
- Work hard and you will be rewarded.
- Be fair.
- Be kind.
- Be grateful.
- Take care of the people you love.
- Do your best.
And perhaps the best lesson he taught me, which I almost learned too late: I am loved.
Rest in peace, Pops. I love you too.
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