I had been debating writing a longer, personal post, and/or posting the eulogy I wrote. However, at least one family member felt a bit uncomfortable with that, so on top of my mixed feelings, it didn't feel completely right for this year. I will say that among the many legacies my dad left, I'm most grateful for his sense of humor, love of cinema, music and other arts, commitment to fairness, insatiable curiosity, puckish sense of play and generosity of spirit. I hope to honor those best qualities in my own life, and to improve on my own faults.
The specifics differ from my own life, but I think the following poem is one of those quintessential Father's Day picks for a reason. I've met many people who, like me, couldn't read it without thinking of their father:
Those Winter Sundays
By Robert Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?
Meanwhile, this was one of my dad's favorite classical pieces. The video skips a bit and the fidelity ain't the greatest at points, but there's a depth of feeling, and for this, that's really what's most important.
Rest in peace.