Thursday, June 26, 2008

100th Post!

So I don't say anything for months on end and then I write about Tim Russert. Kinda bizarre. Kinda out in left field. Maybe at the time it was easier to talk about Tim Russert dying of a heart condition than about my father being hospitalized for his.

My dad was in the hospital. He had two angioplasties, receiving three stents. They also did a bunch of other scans and tests because he was in pain and they couldn't find the source. All that poking and prodding beat the stuffing out of him and yet he tried to go back to work a few days after getting out of the hospital. He's one of those old school hardworking types. Even so, being down there just an hour or so was too much.

Ya think??

When I had my stents put in, the medical minds had me basically tied to the bed for the first week. I'm thinking a 72-year-old man might need at least that.

There's no avoiding the issue. My dad isn't well. He's tired. His heart is in bad shape and getting worse. I used to joke that he worked harder than two men half his age. It wasn't really much of a joke. He seemed able to do anything.

My veterinarian father will be officially retiring as of July 10. I think giving up work will be the hardest thing he's ever done. It feels a little like a death in the family. We always said that work was the thing keeping Dad alive and that we'd know the end was near when he couldn't work anymore. Now that he really can't work anymore, I am hoping we were very, very wrong.

It is an interesting thing that these past few months my father's now scattered bits of energy are being spent mostly on his clients rather than on his family. I do not wish to sound critical. It is simply an observation.

I don't know if this is true of most men, that work appears to be more important than relationships. Or maybe it is that men have a different way of expressing their commitment to relationships. Maybe it is hard for my dad to give up his work because he will then feel that he is not providing for the people he loves most.

Are men mostly defined by what they do, while women are mostly defined by relationships? I think I read that somewhere. Maybe that's why he's seeing clients rather than seeing family. Maybe in a not-too-obvious way my dad is actually showing his love for my mother and for us, his children and grandchildren. I want that to be the explanation. I want that to be the truth.

I know my dad loves us. I know he worked hard to provide for us. I know he came from a generation of men who had less to do with child rearing than today's more involved fathers. I know all these things. I understand all these things. I accept all these things. And yet, I can't help but wish I had more of my father in my life and less of my father's work.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tim Russert

I came back from a weekend away with my husband to find out that Tim Russert had died suddenly of a heart attack at aged 58. You wouldn't think that the death of a news journalist would have the strong effect it has had on the industry, the nation, and on individuals. I've read the articles, watched the interview of his son by Matt Lauer and I feel stunned.

I'm not the least bit embarrassed to admit that I have shed tears over a man that I've never met. To me he was the only member of the press that I felt I could trust. It didn't matter to me what political leanings he had. I felt that he was honest and as unbiased as he could be. I also felt intuitively that he was a moral man, a man of good character, someone genuine and real. It doesn't surprise me to find out that he was strongly religious and that he valued his family. It doesn't surprise me to find out that he was a loving father, husband and son. He was the kind of man you would love to live next door to and be buddies with.

I look at Tim Russert and I think about how easy it was to read him. Who he was permeated all he did and said. I am touched by the kind things his colleagues say about him and I'm somehow relieved and renewed to know that I wasn't wrong, that he really was as good as I thought. It gives me hope to think that not everyone in the public eye is corrupt, that some of the most public of figures can be admirable--honorable even. I have become so jaded about politics and government and all it entails. It was nice to know that there was at least one man who I could trust.

I think the lesson of Tim Russert for me is that who we are permeates all we say and do, too, even if we don't want it to. No matter how hard we may try to hide it, who we are is out there for all to see. He really was who he seemed to be, a truly good and moral man. Tim Russert makes me want to be more like him, and more to the point, more like the Person he put his own faith in.