My father has never been a good patient. In fact I remember listening to my parents get into heated arguments over the fact that my father would be feeling chest pains and refuse to see a doctor. He’s from a long-line of men- who believe not admitting to any physical ailments is what makes them powerful and strong. He is the polar opposite of my mother– who is likely every doctor’s worst nightmare, as she makes her weekly rounds to doctor visits at a dizzying pace.
I’m unclear as to how the two of them- of such different temperaments, and thought patterns have managed to stay married almost fifty years (but that’s another blog post). This one is about my daddy, no not my sugar daddy, the daddy who raised me. The Daddy who was born in a work camp during the Holocaust and somehow managed to survive the terror and grew up under the shadow of parents who had lost their entire families to the Nazis.
I am not close to my father’s side of the family, and at 37 years old, I am still trying to pry into my very guarded father’s past as he has never been one to freely share his thoughts, emotions or feelings with me. I look at him and see a man who, although he’s feeling the ravages of a body that continues to betray him on a daily basis, never fails to muster a smile for his grandkids, and reflect on all the riches his life has offered him. The past couple of years have been pretty rough ones for him; although he’s a young mid-sixties senior- he’s been battling a slew of debilitating illnesses that would have most people feeling, depressed and reclusive.
I guess as he descends deeper into a barrage of health problems, I worry that there is so much about my father, that I will never know. I want to shower him with sloppy, wet kisses, and let him know just how valued he is (which I do as much as he will allow). And in turn I want him to shed his masculine faÃ§ade, and unearth that core of emotions that I know is lurking just beneath the surface and begging to be uncovered.
For now I sit with him, eat the soups and stews he makes, play gin rummy, watch Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone and wait for his cues. I tell him I love him, how grateful I am for the life he has given me and the sacrifices he’s made. I want to know more, but for now this is enough.