When You Lose Your Father


When you lose your Daddy at 10, in a lot of ways you don’t know what a father is. What you do know is that it hurts. Your fists go up. Your fingers are pointed at anyone who resembles him. Always communicating the same message: Go away.

Then you get a FIL, and you cannot, or will not, see what a father can be.

A father reads your (terribly written!) screenplay 3 times, calls you up and declares, “When’s the movie!?!”

A father asks you how you are feeling when in renal failure. When you reply, “Not that great…” and he responds, “Well, have you ever felt worse?” you scowl, unable to see that he is trying. That he is there. That he cares at all.

A father gives you his bed to sleep in. Dismantled and reconstructed in the guest room because you need restorative sleep to heal.

A father goes to four 7-11s to find you Diet Ginger Ale when you have a migraine, and buys every last one.

A father pays for your first month in rehab, immediately, almost without question. Because he knows his son is hurting. That he is dying inside. That you both are dying.

A father loves you through the darkest moments of your life, even when he probably does not like you very much. He loves you, when you cannot love yourself.

Dear Campbell, never once have you made me feel anything less than a member of The Fam.

Thank you for your love even when I couldn't feel it. Thank you for your patience, until I finally learned how to drop my fists, and accept your hand.

I love you. And as your lovely wife likes to say, "That's the nice part."

Totally crying on the plane now! So beautiful. I’m glad you have a dad in him. —Rachel Gardner Jackson
Thank you for being so real. There is not enough of that in life.

— Valerie Martin
Tear jerker.

— Jennifer Bertrand Ziegler Lamm
I really needed to see this today. This perspective. Thank you for your beautiful words, as always.

— Betty Power