I can’t say I ever really got to know my father,
Of course, do we ever really get to know anyone,
Each unique in their depth and complexity,
Creating a puzzle and mystery too deep to fathom.
It was at the time of my mother’s death,
That it hit me very hard,
As I watched my dad,
That I did not know him at all,
In many ways a stranger, his inner self unknown,
We never met, our inner selves,
Never really talked;
How many father and sons ever really do?
Until that moment of revelation, not a concern,
He being unknown to me.
That day my world changed.
The remaining years I worked very hard to know him,
Wishing time to slow down,
Never enough time to delve as deep as I would have liked.
Over the years I just spent time with him,
Learned to like watching golf on TV,
Watched every western ever made,
Three times at least.
Once he wanted to watch something I liked,
I said, no, Dad you would not like it;
He insisted so I complied.
Got a good Sci-fi flick and we watched it together,
All during the movie he said not a word,
When it was over, he looked at me for a moment,
“How can you watch that ****!”
I laughed and said I told you so.
A good funny memory, that still brings a smile.
When not visiting
Called him every week,
Told him of my love and respect for him,
Thanking him for what he had done as our father.
He was not perfect,
At home could be overly critical of everything,
This flowed from his tendency to worry over much,
Wanting us to be safe, and have everything good for us.
He treated everyone the same outside the home,
Kind, thoughtful, making friends easily with all he met.
Those who worked under him loved and respected what he was,
When he retired mom told me there was not a dry eye there.
I remember when very young watching him, how he treated others,
Talked with them, made others feel seen I think,
Something good he has passed on to his many children.
Generous in helping others,
Sometimes giving his last bit of money to someone in greater need,
Yet we always had all that we needed.
On that last Saturday of his life,
We talked of nothing important,
Then I said “I love you dad”,
He replied in kind and hung up.
Later that day Craig called letting me know that Dad was dying,
He had a cerebral hemorrhage,
On a respirator and would be soon taken off.
So soon a life over,
One well lived I think, besides his many weaknesses,
He was just a man,
A good one,
The day I arrived we all checked in a motel.
He gave his body to science,
Just a mass of remembrance,
Mixed feelings about that,
No body to say bye to,
Yet I understood his decision.
The next morning, my non-smoking room
Was filled with cigarette smoke,
Its odor filled the room,
I said “hi dad, glad you stopped by”,
Then it was gone.
Here’s to you pop,
I am glad you had me,
Had us all,
That you worked hard,
That is how you showed your love.
I get more like you every year,
Something I am proud of,
I also worry,
Get grouchy and cranky like you,
Sound at times just like you,
Also like you it passes, my inner crank,
My dad myself,
As the saying goes.