My father is dead and gone. Nothing remains but echoes and the footprints of his long walk through life. What can I say? Why would I say it? He can’t hear my words, they are just more echoes in the space he once filled.
We had a contentious relationship when I was a youngster. We were too much alike: stubborn and hot tempered. In later years Dad apologized to me. While I appreciated the apology, it wasn’t necessary. We didn’t know what we were doing; he didn’t know how to raise me and I didn’t know how to grow up. When I think about the struggles he had growing up, I am amazed at the restraint and compassion he showed me during that time. We moved past that and our family grew to enjoy and appreciate each other and I am so glad for that.
My father was the smartest man I have ever known. He had a core of rectitude that was tempered with compassion and empathy. These qualities shone through his family life, his career and his contributions to the community.
At the end, he was aware of his mental decline and his impending death. It frightened him and it frustrated him. Yet he faced death with dignity and humor. He worried about mom and about his family. I think he lived the last month or so on sheer willpower. I am glad I had the opportunity to tell Dad how proud of him I was. He stepped out with dignity and grace. I hope I can do a fraction as well when my turn comes. He set that bar high.
My father has always been there for me, supporting me, often in ways I didn’t appreciate or was unaware of at the time. I owe so much to him, more than I can express. And now my father is dead and gone. I miss him terribly. See ya, Pops.