What Would Clarence Do?

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Today is the century anniversary of the birth of my father. 100 years.  Triple digits. January 3, 1914.  MY father.  Granted that he was older when I was born, but still….  Holy cow – a century!!

He journeyed from this world to the next at the beginning of the new millennium.  I’m so thankful that, until he broke his hip and died ten days later, he was relatively healthy, had a sharp, quick mind and memory, and lived independently.

He and his wife moved the two hundred miles in 1991 to relocate to our city, like so many other aging parents, when health issues forced their hand.  My step-mother had Alzheimer’s.  So we lived within 12 miles of each other for the last 9 years of his life.  A chance for redemption I thought.  I was wrong.

My father was not a nice man.  Any relationship he had spoiled like milk soured after not being put back in the fridge before a vacation.  He was simply incapable of loving anybody but himself and left a family of walking wounded in his wake.  My mother, myself and my siblings, our spouses, his grandchildren, his wife – we all bear or bore the scars of his extreme narcissism.

In the very last episode of the 80’s era TV show Dallas, JR was able to see how much better life would have been for most of the people in his life if he had never been born.  The same might be said about my father.  His really, wasn’t a wonderful life.  I wonder how Clarence would’ve handled that one?

So no redemption was found in proximity; in the naive idea that physical closeness would result in everything finally being made right and good and whole.   But it hit me this week – it’s there!  It’s tucked deep down in the DNA helixes passed on.   His children and grandchildren.

Happy 100th Daddy.

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