My dad passed away on December 16. He had been seriously ill for a few months, but his death was unexpected nonetheless. He lived far away from my brother and me for most of our lives, and I know he harbored a great deal of guilt about that. But I’ve long since grown to understand love’s austere and lonely offices, and I left behind my childhood resentments a long time ago. We talked about this openly a few times, and I’m grateful for it.
Dad was a husband, a father of five, a long-time reporter for The St. Petersburg Times. He wrote about the space program, the environment, and was in Panama to cover the fall of Manuel Noriega. He loved literature and classical music. He loved the blues. He introduced me to Graham Greene and John LeCarre. He made up bedtimes stories for me when I was little, about a boy who had my name and his magical flying horse called Prince. And despite the distance, he was a constant presence in my life: galvanizing, reassuring, a source of reason when I became lost in self-doubt or self-delusion. I needed him, and I don’t know how to understand his absence. I feel lonely without him. I still want to grow up to be just like him.