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an ode to my father

My father passed away 22 years ago this month.

He was deeply influential in my life and I owe much of my approach to rational thinking to him. He was a mathematician, philosopher, musician, linguist and historian who read voraciously but was also a difficult man to get to know.

He had lost his own father at a very young age and became head of household to his mother, sister and aunt. He survived the Spanish civil war as an infant and knew hunger during those 3 years as it raged over a deeply divided country searching for its identity.

He was as flawed as anyone and had the faults of his qualities some of which we both share. My mother and he made quite the pair with her earthy and quick-tongued practicality pitted against his bookish and sometimes haughty pretence to superiority he would hold over her. I learned much from both and tried to fuse their influences in fashioning my own personal brand.

I am my father’s intellect fused with my mother’s social intelligence. I am also a combination of their flaws in my ownership of an impatient nature, quick tempered flashes and tendencies towards rash judgements about others. I am very consciously and deliberately working towards correcting all of them as I age to varying degrees of success but I am making headway.

The old joke is about the young man aging and realising how much his parents learned over all that time. Only later on does he realize that it was his youthful brashness that he refused to see what was there all along.

As I approach the age at which he passed away I recognize his wisdom all the more.

He died many years before I even began to acknowledge that I suffered from gender dysphoria but I am certain he was the type of person that could be made to understand even if he could not relate.

Comments

  1. Ah yes, wisdom. When we are young it seems like such an outdated and useless concept. And now, having lived three score years, I finally get it. As my father used to joke, "too soon stupid, too late smart."

    My father died about a dozen years ago. I wish I knew then what I know now, as I would've inquired about my early life. I think I must have expressed my inner gender as a toddler to my mother and him, but as an only child and with her being gone many years earlier I'll never have an answer to that.

    Still, your father sounds in some ways like mine. Especially in his later years I think he would have been sympathetic to my plight. Fifty or more years earlier? Hard to say but I can guess!

    We are flawed but doing the best we can with the cards we were dealt. I'm sure your father would be very proud of you.

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