This Sunday would have been my father’s 91st birthday. His goal during the last several years of his life was to make it to age 90. He did, with charm, dignity and grace.
He was the most positive person I’ve ever known. I can’t write this without getting teary-eyed, and he’s been gone from this earth since mid May.
Before he came out to California, I didn’t know him as well as my mother. My father was a quiet man. So we hadn’t bonded in the way my mother and I had.
My mother and I had much in common: books, philosophies, politics, spirituality. My father and I shared most politics, but his conservative Catholic beliefs and my liberal spirituality did make me feel apart from him. But I didn’t know until he moved out here, that is made no difference to him at all. He respected and loved me for exactly who I was.
Not for one moment, did he try to change me. Not for one moment, did he pass judgement on me or any of my friends.
And that has taught me about my own failings, as I try to become the person my dad was. Not in his conservative beliefs, but in his non-judgemental ways.
He had a delightful sense of humor, too. Dry and understated. Once, a friend asked me who I was most like between my parents. The friend, Dad and I were at lunch. I said, “Oh, I’m like Mom. Thank God!”
Dad roared with laughter. Thank God.
After a moment of pure horror, I laughed too. He absolutely knew what I meant. He knew I wouldn’t be happy as anything but me.