OT - Father's Day & The Need To Keep Short Accounts

I had a very good Father's Day and I hope the rest of you who are fathers were able to enjoy the day. Those who are fortunate enough to still have your fathers with you, I hope you were able to honor them as well.

Unfortunately, a friend of mine lost his son yesterday, on Father's Day morning. The family was able to be with Kenny as he passed. I hope that helps with the loss but I am afraid that Father's Day will be forever marked by that loss.

When I received notification (1972) that I was being sent to off to serve in Southeast Asia as part of the Vietnam War, I went home for awhile to be with my family. As it came time to leave, my Dad drove me from Chesterfield County, Virginia up to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. Along the way, I struggled with the thought of telling my Dad that I loved him. I was the one going off to war but the whole idea of saying "I love you" to him seemed overly melodramatic did not set well with me, Besides, "real" men don't talk that way. However, internally, I was being nudged to say it. At the last moment, as I was getting ready to walk from the gate out onto tarmac to board the plane, I did turn to him and said those words to him. They were the last words we ever exchanged face to face,

My assignment in Southeast Asia was at a U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand where the U.S. Air Force flew B52s in support of the ground operations in Vietnam. That was probably the safest place to serve in all of that conflict. When I got notified by the Red Cross that my Dad had been badly injured in an accident, I thought my old Army sergeant dad was pulling some under the counter deal to get me home for my sister's wedding. It was not until I got to San Francisco that I was able to call home that I found out my Dad (who had been in combat in World War II and the Korean War) had been hit by a car and killed while working along the side of the road.

The point of this story is to keep short accounts with those that really matter to you. I still miss my Dad. He was a very imperfect man but he was still my Dad, my first hero. If I had kept from letting him know that I loved him, my sorrow would be greater. Let those you care about know that you do.

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Comments

Thanks for posting this. Sorry I didn't see it sooner. I appreciate you being transparent and sharing. I think most guys struggle with their dad in some respect, in therapy speak its called a "Father Wound". This was a nice reminder to let some stuff go and just try and be real and transparent with the old man. Thanks.

I hate rude behavior in a man. Won't tolerate it.

Thanks for sharing your story. I was blessed to have my dad til I was 39 and he was 75. But in the years before he passed, I was not around he and my mom and siblings as much due to some family issues with my now-ex. The week he died, I wrote a letter to him telling him how much I regretted that missed time and how much he had meant to me and how great an example he was of what a father is SUPPOSED to be. He was unconscious when I delivered the letter to my mom in his hospital room-and I feared that I had waited far too late for him to know, but the next day she had the doctor's bring him to a lucid state to deal with some financial issues before he passed. I found out later that while he was lucid, she read my letter to him and they both wept many tears. I read that letter at his funeral service, and it was the most difficult thing I ever did. He was career USAF from the 1950s to the early 1970s and epitomized the words Rudyard Kipling wrote about being a man in his epic poem "If". and if I can be one tenth the man he was I will count my life a success.

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

From the 2018 VT-uva game-"This is when LEGENDS are made!"

The way it goes. Brings a tear.

Cats Cradle

Anybody remember Grand Torino?

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

Great movie

This is going to be great for the ACC.

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's son. Although it's no comfort I know my words mean little but I hope that being surrounded by family that loved him helps them all.

In true life-is-cyclical nature, I welcomed my daughter (second child) into the world yesterday afternoon. This Father's Day will be tough to top. My wife joked that I've lost all of my special days (first was born 3 days after my birthday). I wouldn't want it any other way, though. That's what I've recognized from thinking back to what I saw from my dad - part and parcel with fatherhood is making a small sacrifice for the greater benefit of your family.

Click here to destroy wall.

Threads like these really make this community shine. Thanks to all for sharing their personal stories. Turkey legs all around.

I experienced something similar. When I graduated high school, I was hanging out with my aunt on our porch the night before the ceremony. We were talking about life, the universe, and everything, as we often did. I don't remember how it came up, but I told her "if I become half the man my father is, I will consider myself a success." At that time, unbeknownst to me, my dad was struggling with some pretty bad depression, an outgrowth of the anxiety and pressure he faced at work. I had no idea. He was an intensely private man and kept his struggles hidden from my sister and I. Only my mom and a few other family members knew. Because of this (again, I didn't catch the real meaning), my aunt said to me, "maybe you should tell him that." I didn't think much of it.

Fast-forward twelve years. My dad was diagnosed with cancer and we knew he didn't have much time left. For Christmas that year, I gave him a picture frame with a couple of my favorite pictures of he and I - one from my sister's wedding where we're laughing hysterically at something and one from the day I got my Ph.D. The inscription on the frame was what I had said to my aunt many years before. That was his last Christmas, but at least I got to tell him. We lost my aunt a few months before. Fuck cancer.

A few weeks ago, my wife gave birth to our son. I celebrated my first Father's Day this past weekend. It's been a bumpy ride so far (complications for both my wife and son after delivery, but thankfully everyone is on the mend and should be fine, but I am not without a substantially greater number of gray hairs). I often think of my dad and wonder what he would do at each step. I will try to be the kind of father for my son that my dad was for me.