Sometimes it’s difficult to believe my father’s been gone 17 years, and then I remember that the terrible hammer blow of his death is no longer the ache that it was, and hasn’t been for a long time. That’s fortunate, because I couldn’t have endured for long with that much daily pain. It faded, as it must, and now sometimes days and even weeks might pass without me thinking about him.
He was a good man. He wasn’t without his flaws, but few of us are. At one point, after I realized he wasn’t perfect, I felt a weird sense of betrayal and tended to downgrade him a little, for which I still feel ashamed. Then, much later than I should have, I realized his part in the world was much more than just “dad” to me and my sisters. And as I’ve aged and had teenagers of my own I’ve come to understand him a little better. Many’s been the time that I’ve wish I could have asked him for advice, although I’ve become so used to not having it now that I don’t think about it much any more.