As stated before, my father’s death has had an effect on me. While I deeply mourn his passing, I’ve taken a good look at myself. I don’t like some of what I see.
This isn’t going to be easy to write publically about, but to me it might serve in my healing process.
Over the past several years, I’ve spent much time at my place in West Virginia. Nearly every ‘free’ weekend and all vacations were spent there. I certainly enjoyed my second home, but now realize that I spent far too much time there. Time that would have been better spent with my parents.
Don’t get me wrong. I do not feel that I grew apart from my father or that we had any ‘issues’. There were none. Everything was fine between us; however, I missed spending some quality time with him.
My Dad and I used to go to lodge together on a fairly regular basic when I first joined the Masonic fraternity. This was especially true when I joined the York Rite Chapter, as we’d go to a dinner, then meeting of Baltimore Royal Arch Chapter #40. These dinners eventually stopped, but we had a ball. Other times, we’d either go to his lodge (at the time), Doric #124, or my lodge, Palestine #189. A few years ago, Dad demitted to Palestine. We’d go on several bus trips a year sponsored by various lodges and use to have a great time. Also, we’d go to Bonnie Blink for the ‘Cornhusking’ event. After I bought in West Virginia, I stopped going. Up until that time, we had gone for about twelve years straight. I regret that now and always will. He looked forward to that event and only missed a few times in his 53 years as a Mason.
Attending lodge in general is difficult for me. Nora and I get up very early. It is difficult for me to stay out until 11 PM, then get up at 4:34 AM to go to work. But, I could have tried. We could have spent more time together. I’ve never have that time back.
As I look back, I realize we still did quite a few things together, but didn’t get together as much as I could have, or would have liked to.
To a certain extent I feel I was somehow selfish with my time. I made sure I had the time to do certain things I really wanted to do. But, I didn’t spent as much time doing things I should have been doing. Much of that is because of the second home in West Virginia. When you’re putting out close to $20,000 a year in mortgage and other related expenses, you somehow feel that you need to be there every free minute. That was stupid on my part. Nora tried to point this out to me several times and I didn’t listen.
This won’t be happening in the future. The house in West Virginia is being sold for various reasons. One is to free up some money. By selling the WV home, we can pay off the house in Baltimore and be mortgage free. By selling the WV home, we will also have the money to take some nice vacations each year – ones we’ll be taking my mother on. Her and Dad loved to travel. Now she’ll travel with us.
I spent nearly every minute with my Dad during his final weeks. Even though he was failing, I realized how much I missed his constant companionship. Even though I knew the end was near, I enjoyed being with him, even in his roughest moments. He gave everything he could to me. It was my only opportunity to do something for him. I know he appreciated everything Nora and I did for him. He told us so several times in the last few weeks.
By selling the WV home, we’ll be able to spend more time with my Mom, Nora’s Dad, and other friends and family. That is more important than anything.
There are a few other items I learned about my father. He really was a gentleman; very kind and caring. He lived and died with grace and dignity caring more about others, than about himself. I told my father before he died, I wanted to be more like him. I meant that and told him so, knowing I didn’t possess some of his qualities.
For a man who never belonged or went to church for his entire adult life, he showed higher qualities than most ministers or priests. He really was a great guy, loved and respected by all who met him. It is something that I need to work on.
I believe that through prayer and a constant attention to my words and actions; someday, I might be on the same road he was on. No one has ever told me that I was alot like my Dad.
He was the one man I looked up to in life. I’ll spend the entire rest of my life trying to walk in his footsteps, knowing that I’ll trip up many times.
Prayer and bible study might help me with my first steps. I know right from wrong. I’m not a stupid person. But, I want to be more like my father – kind and gentle in all areas. I have some sharp edges that need smoothing. My loud mouth is the first place to start. The journey begins.