Friday, April 10, 2015


Attentive readers will note that I have been posting perhaps more than average about my father and fatherhood of late.  Only yesterday, I was reading one of the little Al-Anon daily readers and the reading concerned how the writer had always thought of his alcoholic dad primarily as a monster but then only later in life realized how messed up his dad's own life had been, how challenging a hand he had been dealt.

Which took me back to sitting next to my dad's deathbed, holding his hand in his last hours of life, particularly as I was waiting for Leslie to get there from Boston, while dad's sister Frances was telling me stories about how crazy their own childhoods had been due to their own fucked up parents.Stories I had never heard before.  Somehow my dad had never thought to tell me this stuff. or, more likely, had been unable to.

And then I realized that it was the 2nd anniversary of my dad's death. It was an emotional moment.*

Which raises the question, what do I tell my kids about our own childhoods?  My memories of it are, at best, episodic and inchoate. I often rely on other people telling me stories of things I have repressed and/or just forgotten.  Certainly, even if I were to recover all of it, I wouldn't tell them everything.  Mostly it's helpful to recover memory to get in touch with the roots of my own patterns of feeling.

Maybe my dad was right, to a certain extent, to shelter us from the nasty backstory of his own upbringing, though it limited my ability to connect with him.  Life is complex.

*Interestingly, Facebook took it upon itself to remind me that it was the second anniversary this morning, by reposting the picture I had posted of him the day after he passed.  Thanks, Zuckerberg.

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