My sister Karla spoke about her fondest memories of our dad during his memorial service in January. As I listened to her recollections, I was reminded of my own with Dad. There is so much to sift through; so many things I want to remember forever, it’s overwhelming. Because I cannot possibly put them all down at once, I have decided that whenever I feel the need to work through the grief and loss of losing Dad, I am going to blog about him.
For instance, Karla spoke of being awakened at dawn to go fishing, bribed with coffee and doughnuts, casting off and trolling Long Island Sound for blues or stripers. Sometimes we would jig for bunkers, a popular bait fish. The days were long, sometimes intolerable due to motion sickness, but they were all spent with Dad. From age 10 to 14 I lived on that boat every weekend. One summer Dad took me, my stepmom, Helen and her sister law and kids on a ride around the Long Island Sound. While on the way back to our dock in Cos Cob, we were hit by a squall. Dad did a very smart thing, braving the 6 foot swells, he ran full throttle and got us behind a small island just outside the harbor. We tried to anchor but were blown ashore. All that time he kept his cool, got me to get everyone below and put on life vests but yelled at the others to stop screaming and panicking. I got to ride out the storm on the deck with Dad, and he told me what to do if he got hurt, how to call in an S.O.S., etc. Thank God it didn’t come to that but I remember he said I earned his respect that day.
I can thank Dad for teaching me how to stay calm and think things out even in high stress situations, a skill that helps me in my chosen profession. Let’s face it, when a client becomes argumentative, threatens to hurt someone, or is combative, the more they escalate, the calmer I become. It’s saved my ass many times.
. It certainly came in handy when I lost my vision and needed to keep a level head when lost or confronted with a situation in which my brain and common sense, not my sight could help me.
I miss those life lessons Dad strived to teach me and I am fortunate to have spent the time I did with him.