Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Is your dad a SigEp? Is your son? If so that is fantastic. You can celebrate your brotherhood as well as the father-son connection.

My dad was not (he was a Kappa Sig) and I have 3 daughters so no legacy opportunity. No matter, I believe that my SigEp experience helped me to become both a better father and a better son. The "Balanced Man" concept is more than something to talk about in chapter meetings and at CLAs and Conclaves. It has guided me to understand that time spent with my family is at least as important as the time spent on my career. My daughters are grown now and starting their own journeys of career and family. I flatter myself to hope that I have been able to give them the ability to balance their lives too.

My dad and I had what I would consider a 'typical' complex relationship between a "greatest generation" dad who grew up in the 30s and went to war and a "baby boomer" son who didn't want to cut his hair and went to Vietnam war protest marches - before losing my deferment and joining the Navy! Later, of course I came to understand how much he cared for me and did for me that I was not able to process at the time. As adults we grew closer than I imagined we ever would. I now see he was striving for his own "balance".

SigEp actually helped me be with him in his last days. I had been to the Nashville Conclave in 2005 and planned a trip to Knoxville to see my parents. I knew this might be the last visit because he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer earlier in the year. As I pulled in the driveway I got a call telling me that everyone was at the hospital, so I immediately drove over to see him. There is not much more to say. He died a few days later, but at least I was there to say goodbye to him, and to help Mom with the final arrangements. As a fitting reminder of our brotherhood, several of my Tennessee Alpha brothers came to the funeral to support me in my time of sorrow.

Thanks SigEp. And Dad, I miss you.