January 6 is the 21th anniversary of my father’s death- his yartzeit. I still miss him. I’m still mad at him. I still love him. He was a grower of orchids, an inveterate walker, a lover of sparkling prose and poetry, a New York Times aficionado, a watercolorist, a dentist, and a book dealer. He was by turns silent or garrulous. He didn’t discuss, he held forth. He lived with an aching belly from Crohn’s Disease and its attendant arthritis. His bones were brittle from prednisone and he broke his leg and hip several times. He didn’t suffer fools gladly and everyone was a fool, especially his own children who persisted in trying to follow their own paths in the world. He felt he was a failure, that he couldn’t “beat the system,” that he couldn’t get to where he wanted to be, wherever that was. He offered boundless opportunities to his children and family for intellectual and cultural growth, but only on his terms. He wanted “stars” in the family, not average Joes with the usual complement of vices and virtues. He made me the curious bibliophile, and lover of words I am today. He made me the anxious, self-doubting person I am today. I still miss him. I’m still mad at him. I still love him.
Your tribute to your dad is both heartfelt and revelatory. I hope that it acts as a catharsis, and offer you deep healing from the wounds inflicted.