It has been nearly twenty years since my father died.
I have often wondered if I had “one more day with dad” what would I want to say? What would I want to know? What could I cram into twenty four hours with him?
I think I would ask him questions I never thought to ask when he was alive. I would want to know what he thought about religion, war, work, his friends, his parents.I would ask who was his favorite sibling and why.
I would have a deep conversation with him about something that really mattered. Life has matured me to the point I could do that now.
I would say “thank you” for never embarrassing the family; for the good name he left us. I would thank him for never lacking anything essential.
I would tell him about the world to come, in words he would understand. He was a veteran of World War II. My mother said when he came back from the war he was not the same man that left three years earlier. I think he would want to hear about a world without war and its aftermath.
I would tell my father what I have learned as a father and now a grandfather. That family is everything, and that grandchildren change your whole outlook.
What would you want to say to your father? If he is still alive maybe you can go to him soon and say it while he is alive. Ask him about the things you do not know. Do it now.
Fathers are really really important in a family and to a growing child. Don’t believe all the nonsense telling you a father is not essential in a child’s life. The presence of a father in a child’s life is the single biggest predictor of success in adulthood. Someone once said, “What matters for success is less whether your father was rich or poor than whether you knew your father or not”.
For all you dads who made the decision to stay around, thanks. You made the right choice and a difference in someone’s life.
And if your dad is still around make sure you tell him you care. Do it now, while you can.