Once in a while it hits me: I’ve now been alive longer without my dad than with. Because he died in 2001. The more time that passes … the more questions I wish I could ask him.
The quote I posted at the top of this item belongs to Brian Stelter, CNN’s media critic and host of the network’s “Reliable Sources” program. He put this message out via Twitter.
I happen to relate quite directly to what Stelter has noted. I have been alive longer without my own father than I was with him among us. Dad died in 1980. His death came as a stunner to me and the rest of my family.
Dad was just 59 years of age. I was 30 when he died. I will turn 70 near the end of this year. The idea that I have lived 10-plus years longer than Dad did is enough of a mind-blower all by itself.
Dad has crossed my mind every single day since he left us. So has Mom, who died just a little more than four years after Dad.
But as Stelter noted, the more time goes by the more questions have entered my mind. They deal largely with the way Dad lived his life. They pertain to some of the mistakes I saw him make. They tug at my emotions occasionally, eliciting feelings associated with opportunities lost. Hey, I could have asked him so many of those questions, forced him to answer. Perhaps they could have assuaged some of the mystery that surrounded him.
It’s not that Dad was a mysterious man. He was in many ways an open book. He was a bit of a showman. Dad enjoyed making people laugh. He could tell a joke with as much flair and panache as anyone I’ve ever known. However, perhaps he intended for that showmanship to overshadow some unknowable emotional discomfort. So I guess the book wasn’t open as widely as it could have been. Thus, the questions I have harbored for many years are coming forward on this Father’s Day.
I miss my father. This day doesn’t sadden me. It does, just as it does for Brian Stelter, fill me with a strange desire for answers to questions that have lingered for most of my life.