My Father

It came up so sud­denly.  I was stand­ing over a cut­ting board slic­ing a large New Jer­sey tomato for lunch when grief brought tears to my eyes.

I had been think­ing with amuse­ment of my mother’s life-long pas­sion for base­ball, specif­i­cally as embod­ied in the Cleve­land Indi­ans. I won­dered if that was part of why my father fell for her, and I wanted to ask him. Sud­denly I wanted des­per­ately to talk to him, to hear his voice com­ment­ing with that com­bi­na­tion of wry humor and affec­tion that was so typ­i­cal of him. And then the tears appeared.

It had been 19 years since he died, and some years since I had cried over his death, but here I was, my hands stopped on the cut­ting board. I stood qui­etly, accept­ing the moment, won­der­ing at the endurance of father-daughter love. I was grate­ful I had had the kind of father I would always love and miss. One gift of being 72 is that I now know that I can live with grief, and through it, that it is the shadow-side of lov­ing, and worth the price.

I took a deep breath and returned to cut­ting. The tomato was sud­denly red­der; it smelled deli­cious. The sum­mer after­noon stretched sweetly before me.

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