A hope note
Every Father’s Day, I find myself thinking about my father, who died 15 years ago. This past Father’s Day I found myself fantasizing about what I would say if I had another five minutes with him.
I would spend my first four minutes thanking him from the depths of my heart. I would mention an entire afternoon in 1959 that he might not even remember, when he gave me hours of undivided attention, teaching me how to do a jackknife off the small diving board in a saltwater swimming pool in San Antonio.
I would bring up the time I hurt him deeply with a decision I made, but at the end of our conversation I heard him say, ‘I can’t understand what you’re doing, but I respect your right to choose your own way.’
I would reminisce about the last time I saw him. As I opened the door to leave his hospital room, both of us knowing death was imminent, he managed a weak wave and a slight smile and said what I had heard him say many times before: ‘If there’s ever any way I can help you, just let me know.’
In my last minute I would give him an unconditional pardon for any and every way he thought he failed me as a father.
If you have a living father, I hope you’ll get in touch with him. Thank him. Forgive him. Do whatever needs to take place.
Just don’t wait till the last five minutes.