First off, my Dad died in February.
It was sudden and unexpected. When my sister called around midnight to give me the news, all I could say was, "You're kidding!" An expression more often used for general bafflement or less tragic circumstances, I suppose. But that's all I thought to say.
In a way, it felt like a big joke. My Dad was a force of nature, an artist to the core, a writer, a poet, a teacher, and a great operatic singer. But he was also my Dad and he wasn't perfect. And I certainly had my issues with him.
But despite all that, he was a good man and a kind man. He taught me a lot about art, and poetry and singing. He always encouraged my sister and me to follow our dreams and never tried to tell us what to do with our lives. He respected our choices and he respected honesty. He had a tremendous impact on the lives of his friends and his singing students. And I know, without a doubt, that he loved me and my sister more than anything and never stopped trying to be a better person and a better father. I miss him.
|Illustration by my Dad, not sure when he did this. Probably in his twenties or thirties.|
|My Dad loved his boots (and his hats.)|
|Self-portrait. College days?|
|My Dad in his art studio.|
|Oil painting of my Mom, by my Dad. She is probably in her twenties.|
|This is probably my favorite photo of my Dad. Early college years, I think. Loving the glasses and the haircut.|