Since it's Father's Day, I thought it apropos to mention him here on my blog. Although he died almost 15 years ago, he had a profound effect on my childhood. He wasn't an easy man to love; he could be brash, stubborn, harsh, ruthless, and unforgiving. But he believed in me and loved me in spite of the times I know I disappointed him. He was a flawed man, as we all are, but I do think that he loved his family fiercely. That's certainly something to admire. He was a self-made man with little formal education, yet he was able to operate a series of family businesses that were successful. He wasn't a man of formalized faith, but he did follow a code of ethics and morality that were self-defined. He wasn't easy to love at times, and he only gave others the respect he'd felt they had earned. He was a hard man in many ways, perhaps because of his cruel upbringing or his experiences in WWII. In spite of all those things, he was gentle with me in my childhood. As I grew up, he placed great faith and emphasis on my intellect, trusting it and encouraging it and rewarding it rather than the emotional fragility that seemed to be de rigeur for the women in my family.
Unfortunately, we were not on good terms at his death, and I regret not making things right between us before he died. I hope he found it in his heart to forgive me before he died. I do find some comfort in remembering the good memories; I tell myself that he knew that I loved him even if I hadn't visited him in the months before his death. I tell myself that he would be more proud of the woman I am toay than the one he knew 15 years ago; I tell myself that I learned the hard lessons from him, and that I am a better person for those experiences.