It’s in the Genes

My father passed away this past weekend, one week before his 75th birthday.

I’m usually a fairly private person. I walk that fine line of balancing privacy that all social media enthusiasts do; I actually don’t tweet too many details about my family, while giving the appearance that I do. Most of my followers feel they know me, but most really don’t. As we all discover, picking and choosing what to share is a must for every blogger in this digital footprint world.

I didn’t intend on writing about my father’s passing, as I’d much rather focus on celebrating his life, but when going through old crates this week, I found the most remarkable items that have led me to include him in my post today.

Black and white childhood photos, his elementary school report cards, college basketball programs highlighting his outstanding career, his brother’s Purple Heart from World War II, romantic anniversary cards from my mother before we kids were born. (They were married for 51 years.)

My father had tucked these keepsakes away, unbeknownst to the rest of us. It was like exploring a time capsule which had been carefully and lovingly curated. And while these items are priceless and such an unexpected joy to come across, it was one item in particular that garnered my attention most. My father kept a fictional story he had written in high school.

Wha–? A short story?! He kept a short story he had written in high school?!

The teacher’s remarks across the top of the page caught my eye:

And when I read the short story, it was excellent! He not only kept this story, but had kept several pieces of writing–both fiction and expository–of which he was especially proud. I was stunned!  Every piece of writing was spectacularly crafted!

You see, I knew my father as, well, as my father. I knew him as a Rotarian, an Indian Princess leader, a former college basketball coach, a commercial developer, a funny and loving man. Towards the end it was hard to see him suffering from Diabetes and Parkinson’s, but despite his difficulties, he was my biggest cheerleader, dutifully sending out every one of my blog posts to his email list. (And let me tell you, this was no easy task! He had to hunt and peck over and over as his Parkinson’s did not make typing easy!)

He joyfully supported my book publishings and bragged to all his friends about his “genius” daughter. (His exaggerated words, not mine! Ha!) But never once did he tell me that he had been a writer, too… He never shared the knowledge that not only did he used to like to write, but that he was very, very good at it!

So, while my brain is just beginning to process the passing of his life, my heart can find comfort that a piece of him lives on in me…and it somehow makes every word I write from this point on mean just a bit more.

Thanks, Daddy.