A few years ago I wrote a Father’s Day post blasting my biological father for walking out on me when I was a kid. It was a post filled with rage, bitterness, and pain, and I still stand by every word. Time won’t heal that wound.
My father’s disappearing act created a need for role models in my life. Men who could show me right from wrong, teach me how to be a man, understand the things you were supposed to do, and occasionally kick my butt when I got it wrong. Good men I could admire. I was lucky - my Uncle Dom, Uncle John, Uncle Walt, and my grandfather selflessly stepped into that void to become role models to provide the kind of love and guidance I needed. This past week we buried my stepfather, Cecil. I was already a father myself when he married my mother and came into our lives, but Cecil was as important to me as the other men who influenced my life. He had been in the military for over twenty years, serving his country in Korea and Vietnam with honor and pride the way his generation did. Cecil was an unassuming man with solid values and a strong work ethic, and like many soldiers and sailors, did what needed to be done without complaining. It was a commitment he made with no strings attached and no expectation of an obligation attached to it. Everything about him said strength, integrity, and patience. He loved my mother and gave her a life filled with the kind of happiness that had been missing for years. Even though nobody asked him to fill the role, he happily became a grandfather to my kids – he had a gentle and quiet way of showing them how to do things patiently, correctly, and completely. Cecil was everything a man is supposed to be. I probably never told him I loved him enough times, but I think he knew that.
I hope I can be the kind of man he would be proud to think of as a son.
A few other things to consider:
- Addiction is not a disease. Cancer is a disease. Leukemia is a disease. Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are diseases. I have empathy for addicts and their struggles to find sobriety, but disease is not some kind of label we can slap on things to excuse our behavior or choices. Labeling addiction (in any form) as a disease takes away responsibility for a choice that somebody made.
- I guess it’s understandable that many don’t accept climate change when they get weather forecasts from a rodent somebody yanks out of the ground every year on February 2nd.
- This marks the first update in over a year. Sorry about that – it’s not that I haven’t had anything to say or that I enjoyed sitting on the sidelines. Expect more on a regular basis.