Monday, June 14, 2010

My Father

My father is, by many standards, a complete jerk. He is distant, cold, sets incredibly high expectations, expects you to live by certain conservative "old world" values, yet excel in modern worldly ways. If you could get past all that, you would see that he is incredibly generous, damaged, hard working and entrepreneurial. He came to this country with little money and eventually made enough to buy a small plot of Manhattan real estate. At the time, that plot of real estate was in a high crime part of the city, but he had foresight, and now that land should provide for our family for a few generations, at least. He valued education, and worked hard so his kids could go to school. Yes, he is distant and cold, and yes, he shows his love through material things, but he worked damn hard to provide us with those material things. And when his kidney failed after years of diabetes and alcohol abuse, he didn't even think to ask his kids for a kidney, because he said it was his burden and his mistake and he didn't want to make us pay for it. He bore that burden, and even in illness, he seemed invincible. So it is with incredible sadness and surprise I report that he passed away yesterday.

I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I found out late this evening and am getting on a train in the morning to go home. I know I made certain choices in my relationship with my father. I intentionally set distance between us because he had a way of driving me crazy in a completely irrational and unacceptable manner. I have to live with those choices, and that's ok. He was my father. I loved him. I will miss him.

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