Updated: Jun 18, 2022
It's Father's Day, which is actually my least favorite holiday! Let's get a little personal...
Here's a pic of ol' Daddio, Pete, and I at the Konigsee in Germany, back when I was a freshman in college. We went to Germany to see where he grew up (his Pa was a colonel in the Army after WWII) after he was diagnosed with lung cancer but was in remission. We had a pretty strained relationship when I was growing up, but happily/sadly, things drastically improved between us when he was diagnosed. This was a lovely trip and such a positive memory. He died about a year later. A few days after Father's Day, and exactly one month before I turned 20. So you can see why I REALLY don't like Father's Day.
After years of therapy, I have a lot of compassion for the grumpy, reformed alcoholic, military-raised, pre-baby-boomer that he was. Men raised in that era have a hard time with feelings, not to mention all the emotional tar that comes with alcoholism. The only way I could get him to engage much with me was to ask him questions about science, and I definitely owe him for that passion in my life. He was also hilarious, took absolutely no-nonsense, and felt a strong sense of obligation to his communities - a sponsor to so so so many recovering alcoholics, volunteered regularly on the local AA call-line, tutored troubled kids (they hated him lol), participated in local urban gardening organizations. I learned about helping others, and I learned that it's important to work on yourself, too (though lack of modeling).
And as strange as it sounds, I actually really value the experience of losing him at the beginning of adulthood. There's little in life more disruptive than losing a parent, but it teaches you so much about yourself, what is important in life, how to carry on, and have faith that things will be ok, even if it's not. Life is fucking complicated. Love is complicated.
So it goes.