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Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Letter To My Father

Happy Father's Day !!

Time heals all wounds- Myth Number One- In fact I miss my father more and more with the passing of time. I was so incredibly close to him that his absence in my daily life has left a huge void. My father used to just stop by- I would hear the garage door open and he would saunter in here with a big friendly greeting. He usually had the latest edition of the Times or Archaelogy Today under one arm, and some sort of goodie for us in the other. He would stay for an hour and at times not say a word. He simply sat at my kitchen table and read. His presence to me was calming, friendly, sweet and protective. He knew me better than anyone and he and I were similar souls. This was not only in our demeanor but also in our positive and upbeat view of life.

He was incredibly intelligent yet down to earth and kind to everyone who crossed his path. His loyalty and love of family was readily seen and his spirit is alive through my children.
As I watch Christopher Im in awe of the similarities between he and my Father. Like Dr.Tony- he shares the same love for reading, science, math, history and exploration. He is gentle, intelligent and loyal with a heart of gold and he wants to be a Radiologist. My Dad would be thrilled.

Giavanna is also like my father in many ways- she loves music and family and her friends. She is always smiling and sweet and gentle. Her passion is laughter and making people happy. She is intelligent and truly lights people up as she delightfully tells a story. She has the same friendly nature as my father and if he saw her play her saxophone, he would love it. It is wonderful for me to see his spirit alive through my children. They talk about him all the time and his presence is continually felt in our home.

When I was 23, my father was diagnosed with Prostate cancer and my relatively happy existence became riddled with fear and anxiety. With a terminal cancer coloring the backdrop of every day- life changed for me. From the time my father was diagnosed until the day he died I lived with a dread that was present even in the happiest of moments. The black cloud of illness and suffering loomed on the horizon and I could not find peace in thinking of my world without my father present. I would cry at night and going to bed became something I dreaded.
I used to live across the street from St.Stephens Church in Boston and at times late at night I would go and sit on the stairs of the church. I would pray and sob until my stomach hurt and my eyes had cried every tear. I cherished every moment with my father and have great peace knowing that he knew how much he rocked my world -as the young kids would say. I want to share with you a letter that I wrote to him in December of 2003. This letter was placed in his hand along with some pictures in his coffin. Happy Father's Day- Please respect and love your father even if you have differences. Do not let time pass without him knowing that you love him. I did it when he was alive and and now that he has passed, it has made all the difference. I wrote the following letter in December of 2003.

A Letter To My Father,
Dear Dad- I have often found that I am best able to express myself through my writing so this Christmas I have decided to give you a gift that is truly from my heart. I have put my emotions into words and have created this letter which for me is the best gift that I have ever given you. Although you have taught me numerous lessons my entire life, I have found that I have learned the most from you as a result of your illness. Your strength, courage and spirit in the face of adversity is more than admirable. You embrace the gift of life and indulge in the beauty of life, from opera, to planting flowers to traveling to your favorite places. I truly wish that I was with you on your most recent trip to Italy as I love it there as much as you do.

I am so thankful and filled with gratitude for the wonder of simply knowing and loving you. You have always been my friend, my teacher and the man whom I have admired most in my life. Your presence has always calmed me even when no words were spoken. When Giavanna was born you came over every morning by 7 am for over a month. You brought Christopher glazed doughnuts and sat at ny kitchen table reading the paper and drinking coffee just so I could take a shower and not feel so overwhelmed.. You even packed Christopher's lunch and would drive him to nursery school. What seemed like a simple act to you, in reality is an example of how much you continually nurture all of those whom you love.

I find that I am so much like you have only discovered this in my adult life. Like you I am blessed with a love of reading, music, exploration, anthropology and a spirit for helping those in need of guidance. These are gifts that I have received from you. You are so important to all of us who have been graced with your love and wisdom. As you know, my husband lost his father at an early age and truly has considered you his father for the past five years. He often speaks of how much he admires and loves you. This you already know as he has often expressed how he strives daily to become the man that you are. How fortunate for me.
My children are delighted by the sight of you and your playful nature. Christopher has sense that you are the one who can "fix" everyone and everything. If he has a boo-boo, a bump or a toy that needs batteries, he needs to call "Dr.Tony". At such a young age, he has realized how nurturing you are and it is extremely endearing. Giavanna gushes when she sees you and has been blessed with a big, happy smile similar to yours. I am sure that as soon as she can speak she will be requesting "Dr. Tony" for things that need "fixing".

I hope that in my actions and in my words that you are able to feel the gratitude and love that I have towards you as my father. I thank you for the father that you are, the great friend that you have become and the inspiration that you will forever be.

Love You Always- Michelle

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