Early 1980s. My father and I are talking. His sister Ann is on the right.
Those who knew me growing up also knew the contentious relationship I had with my father. His role was to guide me with an iron fist and I fought him tooth and nail, passively and aggressively.
The day I walked down the aisle with M my father grinned ear-to-ear. I always believed behind that smile was relief that I would be someone else’s problem from that day forward.
His photograph, my essay. Both sitting on his–our–desk.
So there will be many surprised long-time friends and relatives who would never expect me to write a loving piece about my father.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home marks the very first time anything I’ve written about Dad has appeared in print. The essay is called My Father’s Desk. It’s about the old, battered desk I’m sitting at right now. The one that sat in his pediatric office for 50 years.
The book is out today, just two days before what would have been my father’s 95th birthday.
It’s been six years since he left this world and our relationship is better than ever and I say that with a perfectly straight face.
My father has been in touch several times since his passing and our relationship has healed and grown. In fact, he was a starring player in the single most transformative spiritual experience I’ve had.
I’m sure this sounds strange and bizarre to those who don’t hold my beliefs. For them, no proof of life after life will suffice. To those of us who know that our souls go on after this body dies, no proof is necessary.
Well, that’s not exactly true. My spiritual journey has been all about seeking proof, and if not proof, evidence. And I found plenty of evidence. It’s there if we just look.
But. This essay is not about woo-woo stuff. It’s about a daughter coming to terms with her father. About their relationship in life.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home is available now at all the usual places. My essay is #43. I hope you like it.
Oh, and happy birthday, Dad! I’d love it if you visited me while I’m in Portland next week. You know what I mean.