My relationship with my father was pretty . . . unsatisfying. I guess that’s one way I could put it. Most of my relationship with him over the years could be characterized as a.) long periods of anger, followed by b.) long periods of indifference (where I mostly just tried to block him out of my life). Followed by c.) brief periods of respect, admiration and even gratitude.
The last time I saw my father was in the summer of 1999, twenty years ago (man, THAT went by fast!).He came to the Bay Area for a couple weeks on a vacation, mostly in the hopes of re-kindling some kind of relationship with my older sister (who also lives in Berkeley), who had pretty much completely disowned him, and refused to see him during the visit. At the time I felt I was on reasonably good terms with my Dad, and had resolved most of the issues that I had had with him in the past. So I ended up going out for coffee or lunch with him on multiple occasions during the course of his visit. But a weird thing happened: The more I saw of him, the more I disliked him. It’s like it kept reminding me of all the reasons why I had disliked him in the first place (many of which I had forgotten about at that point).
So after that, I didn’t have much to do with him over the next 20 years. Aside from occasionally writing him a letter.
Until last year when I suddenly got the news that he only had weeks to live. So I made a frantic effort to reach out to him before the clock expired. Managed to talk to him once on the phone. And then shortly after that, he died.The end.
Happy Father’s Day.