Father’s Day 2011

Father’s Day 2011 has me far away from my family. My parents are in South Florida. I am on a night flight from Salt Lake City, Utah to my home in Los Angeles.

At some point there will be a phone call. It will be short, because my dad is a man of few words on the telephone. I think he gets that from his father. I remember calling my grandfather once a week, usually on a Tuesday.

The conversation consisted of “How are you feeling?,” How is the weather?,” and “I love you.” Yet as much as he disliked talking on the telephone, he would worry if I did not call.

Like my grandfather, my dad has had a hard life. He entered this world under nightmarish circumstances. His health has never been good. My mom insists that there was a time when my dad was a happy, healthy man brimming with optimism. I do not remember those days.

It is tough to be optimistic about life when you can’t be healthy. He sometimes coughs constantly. The doctors could never figure out why.

Despite having open heart surgery twice, all he wanted out of life was to be able to enjoy his fishing and read his books. Now his eyesight is not so good, and once again the doctors cannot seem to be able to figure out what is wrong. To not be able to read a book for him is tough. He can still go fishing, but when the weather is bad he cannot do that.

I worry because I remember how it ended for my grandfather. My grandfather lived until age 100. I saw him three months before he died. He was fine. What did him in was a brutally cold weather in New York in 2004. His one pleasure was sitting outside with his friends in the park. Yet that one cold winter prevented him from going outside. With nothing to do, and unable to leave the apartment, dementia set in.

My father does not have dementia. He has a sharp mind. Yet he is not 100. He is only 70. Yet it is so incredibly frustrating to be alive but unable to do things.

He has his hearing and his arms and legs. I just hope the doctors fix his eyes. I had laser surgery and my eyes are better than ever. Yet his are worse than ever. I wish I could share my newfound sight with him.

In some ways my dad is one of the luckiest men on Earth. He has things some people never have in this world.

He has been married to my mom for 46 years. They are very happy together. Their closest friends are my de facto aunt and uncle, and that friendship has also been several decades.

My dad has so many people who care about him. So did my grandfather.

My dad would really like to see me married with kids, and I certainly would like that. Yet I am at peace with this not occurring. He is not. It worries me that the one thing I want my dad to have…inner peace…he may never have while he is alive.

On more than one occasion he has said “my race is run.” Yet the rest of the family wants him to stay around. We just want him not to suffer so much.

Some people never know who their fathers are. Other people have distant memories. So of course I am grateful for still having my dad. I just wish something could be done to improve his quality of life.

I ask him if he is feeling better, and he says “I am not going to get better.”

I had not anticipated such a bleak train of thought on what should be a day of joy, but my Father’s Day will be spent just praying for my dad. I hope he has more good days than bad days. I just wish somehow, some way, he could just for a few moments experience what it is like to be healthy. He may never stop coughing, but at least if he could just have his eyes back to read his books, that would be something.

My mom will be with him, and that will have to be enough.

As for me, I just pray.

Dad, I love you. I wish you much better health, and much better days ahead.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.