Today marks the 14th anniversary of my father’s passing. To be honest, I didn’t think a lot about it today. But then the melancholy hit this evening – the sadness of what could have been; what I’d always hoped for; what never came to pass.
Tonight, in honor of my dad, I’m re-posting a piece that I wrote three years ago on this date. The sentiments are as true today as they were then.
Daddy, I hope that you’re somewhere beautiful and that your soul has found peace. I love you.
Oct. 22, 1941 – Nov. 13, 2000
11 years today. It’s hard to believe that it’s been so long. There are times when it feels like the blink of an eye. There are others when it feels like an eternity.
This is the man who shaped me and molded me – many of the best parts of me are reflections of him; fear, self-doubt and shame are also his legacy to me.
Tonight let me focus on some of the things that he gave me that are true miracles in my life:
My ability to use words – both written and spoken – is a gift that he passed on to me;
He passed on to me the ability to inspire and encourage others;
I inherited his tenacity and single-minded focus;
He passed on his problem-solving skills and the ability to take in and process a lot of information quickly;
He shared with me his desire to make the world a better place and to treat all people with dignity.
My father was not an angel by any stretch of the imagination. But neither was he a villain. He was a little boy who was treated very badly. I can’t fault him for the fact that he learned some really screwed up lessons about what it meant to be a parent.
He wanted desperately to be a good person. He wanted to believe that he was worthy of success. He wanted to make a mark on the world.
And he did make his mark – he was one of the people who helped create the National Public Radio system as we know it today. He was one of the creators of the Boston 4th of July event that is quickly approaching its 40th year. He was a loyal friend to many people who needed someone in their corner.
It makes me sad that he couldn’t be that person for me. It also makes me sad that no matter how many of those successes he had, the haunted look never left his eyes. No matter how much he achieved, I don’t think he ever felt worthy of his place in the world.
Perhaps I can be the one to heal the family pattern of trauma and self-doubt. Perhaps I can be the one to finally banish that haunted look. Perhaps I can use the lessons and gifts that he passed on to me in such a way that I become the mark he left on the world.
That is my prayer.