It’s been 26 years since we last celebrated Father’s Day together. I think about your time here on Earth and I rejoice in your spirit.
Born in the early 1900’s, you saw so many things. You were raised Jewish, yet you chose to let us be who we were; it did not matter to you if we were Jewish or Christian, as long as we had a faith in God. I remember your love of Christmas trees and we had one every year, just because you didn’t. You said you wanted one as a child and couldn’t have one; so, you gave us that gift.
You came through the Holocaust. Losing most of your family, you came to Ellis Island, speaking no English. You worked your way up in the CCC camps from nothing; just to learn the language. You passed the tests required to practice medicine in this country –you were on your way!
You taught me a strong work ethic and despite your financial successes, that there was more to life than having money. You taught me to be honest and how to persevere in even the toughest times. You shared stories of the Holocaust, perhaps to show me courage and inner strength or even more so, that this piece of history would never die. Those stories taught me a lot including how inhumane people can be to one another.
As a physician and diagnostician, you were absolutely brilliant. People lined your office for hours just to see you. You worked so much that I seldom saw you; seeing 80 or 90 patients a day was normal. And these were not the 5-10 minute exams of today. In spite of your schedule, you made time for me on your day off and in the evening. I think you invented the “power nap.”
I’m not sure how you had the energy at the age of 51 to have a young family; yet, you managed. As you grew older and I was in my teenage years, we did have our share of arguments. Yours was a different generation. Mozart was your music of choice, while I was into rock-and-roll. You worked hard to protect me from “life”. You were, in fact, overprotective. I know that came from a good place and yet, I wish you’d have allowed me to “fail” more; I think it would have served me well, later in life.
As Father’s Day approaches, I am thinking about you. You taught me a lot in your lifetime; compassion, love, perseverance, hard work, courage, love of music and even the smell of fresh flowers; but most of all, the gift of self. I wish you’d have been around longer; gotten to know your grandchildren and what incredible young adults they all are today. I wish you had gotten to know me as I am today. I am a different person than I was 26 years ago.
I know you are in heaven looking down on us. As we continue on life’s journey, I periodically stop to reflect on our life together. You were a good man, a great father and a humanitarian in your own right. I love you.
Happy Father’s Day!