My Dad been gone a long time, but I always feel a little pang during my day. I miss him. My father was a complicated, brilliant, difficult, witty and amazingly brave person.
He had to be both parents a lot as my mother was mentally ill. He was the reason we weren’t all shipped off to orphanages. That’s whet they did in those days before foster care. They sent kids to a large place run by nuns who cared for them in a non-motherly way. I never had to go. He stayed with us through all the long stretches with no mom in the home.
As a teenager, I volunteered at that orphanage. I saw firsthand what I had escaped.
He encouraged me, put me through college, told me I could make it and convinced me that in spite of a tough upbringing, I could do what I dreamed of doing.
Raising six kids was not an easy thing for a man in those days. He had help at home, some good, some terrible. I have no idea how he kept going. Drinking didn’t solve his problems, but he escaped from them as much as one can with alcohol. You do pay a price for that kind of self-medication, don’t you? He died at age 65, not so much older than I am now.
I look at his life and see his strengths and his weaknesses realistically. I am more than glad for those strengths. He taught me that you can overcome anything and rise from the ashes as many times as it takes. I loved him deeply. We shared a wonderful adult, father-daughter closeness anyone would envy. He was my guide, my mentor, my coach and my personal adviser.
He died happy, knowing that I was happy, that I married a wonderful man (still married to him 28 years later), and that his little girl had grown up to be what she wanted. He saw me evolve from a nurse into a lawyer and cheered the metamorphosis. I will be grateful to him forever.
My father taught me courage in the face of difficulty, more than any other human being I have ever met. For that, I remember him as an honorable man. I long ago forgave his faults and shortcomings, choosing instead to focus on the good he did for me, for my mother, my siblings and for a lot of other people as well.
No matter what kind of a father you have or had, today is a day to think of the good in him.
Tonight, my kids and I will celebrate the evening together at dinner. We’ll have a toast to their terrific Dad and to my Dad. I will remind them of my father’s legacy of courage and strength and wish the same qualities for them in their young lives. He passed before they were born. I’ll tell them that if I can leave as powerful a legacy with them as he did with me, they are lucky kids indeed.
Wishing all the dads who read this the best of your Father’s Day. And for your families, may they appreciate all that is the best in you.
And now from Mikol:
It’s my third Father’s Day since I lost my dad Joe D. Davis.
It’s still a little sad, and nostalgic for me.
For those who may be having difficulty this Father’s Day, coping with a Dad who is changed because of aging, or you’ve recently lost a Dad, know that there are many resources to get the support you need. At AgingParents.com, we provide advice and help in person or by phone. We’re here for you and we want you feel in control when things feel out of control. Support is just a click away.
Until next time,
Carolyn Rosenblatt and Mikol Davis,