I witnessed something this afternoon I thought was unimaginable. I watched my friends, whose dad just died, do his father’s funeral. As I sat there and listened to my friend recounting all things his Father I tried to put myself in his shoes. I remembered back when my Dad left me. I was prepared. I had my Mother as my main focus. I made sure all went as we had planned during his funeral. I made sure no one did anything he had asked not be done, but to officiate the service, not a chance. I watched my friend with his wife; mother and children sitting not 5 feet from him capture the essence of his dad for all there who did not known the man. He spoke about how they really never had cross words. He even gave an example of when he tried to kind of get under his dad’s skin, but his dad wouldn’t take the bait. As he continued he would mingle in stories about his kids and his dad, his mother and his dad, his dad and friends, his dad and him. Voice always strong except when he talked about his own children and how he hoped he could be the example his father was to him and them.
That got me to thinking. What would my son say at my wake? I can promise you my son and I have had numerous wars of words. I am not so sure I have been a very good example of a dad. I swear I try to be there but can never make the grade. My hard head always wins and I go off like an atom bomb and here we go again. All I want is for him to be better than me. Is that too much to hope for? I know my standard for him is higher than any I might be able to attain but this is about him not me. I know what the real world is like, and no one out there takes prisoner, they all shot to kill and it takes great wisdom and courage to make it. If I give him every single thing he thinks he needs then when I am gone he will be soft and not ready. How did my friend’s dad do it? How did he balance the skills of getting his son so ready for the world, he became a leader of men, and still never had crosswords? I think when my friends gets a little better, and removed from this, that will be a conversation we have over a really nice bottle of wine.
I can promise you my son could not say those things about me. However, in my defense, and yes, I have one. All I have ever wanted for him was for him to be happy and safe. I want him to know the joy and comfort of being able to make it on his own. To know, no matter what he can eat tomorrow, and have a place to stay because he is in control of his life and destiny. That might sound a little melodramatic I know but that’s how I feel my Dad left me. When my Dad passed I was on my own, married and doing just fine. In my lifetime I have lost jobs unexpectedly and have never been sunk. Because I feel like my dad taught me how to survive. He taught me how to work hard, and never give up. I tell my son that, yet all he sees is his counterparts not having to work hard and never give up, so I am an uncaring dad in his eyes, as he has called me many times. Will I ever live to see him learn the lesson I am so desperately trying to teach him? I know I am not too sure my dad had all of the confidence in me either. However, he did leave me in charge of his most prized possession, his wife, my mom!
So I guess we are back at the beginning. I have always had respect for my friend whom I saw today. He went up a few notches in my eyes. I guess you know your son has achieved all you have asked for when he has the wherewithal to stand up, and preach your funeral, Unimaginable.
The Blessed Man