Today is Father’s Day and the first one since my father died almost a month ago.
My father…what do I say about him? He wasn’t the Father Knows Best or Leave It to Beaver dad, although I think he thought he was. But he was my father and even though he was not always a very kind person to me or to my mother and brothers, I still loved him.
I try to just remember the good things.
I have a picture of my father and I in our backyard. I look like a kid from the Depression in my “towel” dress my grandmother made me for the summer and my dad in his beat up work clothes. My dad was teaching me to mow the grass. I don’t mow the grass anymore, my back is too bad, but I still remember learning how to start the mower in my back yard.
My father was a park ranger during the summer (school administrator during the school year) which meant we got to do a ton of stuff in the Cleveland MetroParks growing up. We lazed on the beach, swam, picnicked, went to festivals, the zoo and just had a lot of fun with all the park had to offer.
We took summer vacations to historical places and visited friends out of state. We didn’t have much money but my parents owned a motorhome they rented out during the year to pay for it. We took trips during the year to my dad’s symposiums and conventions too.
My father was interested in so many things. He and my mother were both teachers. They gave us a love for knowledge for it’s own sake.
At the end of my father’s life he came to depend on me quite a bit. He had not been a very nice man during his life and was pretty much alone. My husband, my aunt, his housekeeper and I were his main circle. When he got sick I was at the hospital every day and several nights with him. It was a difficult time. He hadn’t always been a great person, but he was my dad. So I stayed with him. We knew he might not make it through this illness this time and I didn’t want him to be alone. He was my father.
I did every thing I could. But I couldn’t make him well. Just when he finally was becoming the nice dad we all had dreamed of for years.
So this father’s day I hope my father is at peace. I am working on being at peace with who he was as a father.
I had a complicated relationship with my father, both good and bad, but I hope I brought some comfort to him in the end.