Before my father passed away – like right before (eight days to the day) – we had this talk. I asked him if he wanted to become a grandfather. I mean, was it something he was really looking forward to? I’m not sure why I asked. At least, not at that moment. He cocked his head to one side and started to remind me how he already had grandkids. Like I had forgotten or something. He smiled like it was a joke. Ever his impatient, serious, can’t relax daughter I rudely interrupted, “daaad…you know what I mean….” My voice trailed off, pathetic. It was then I think he realized the weight of my question for his answer came slowly and metaphorically. Like all good conversations it meandered away from the hypothetical and soon settled on here and now more important things. I was leaving home in a few days. We ended up talking about so many different things.
I never did get a solid yes or no out of him. That wasn’t his way. He spoke like a Sage, mixing words with wisdom and allowing me to sort it all out. He didn’t like to do all the talking so he showed guidance by asking a lot of questions. Take away what I needed to take. Making me answer myself. Making me think. He always made me think about things from a different side, from the other side. From not my side, no matter which side I was on, or thought I was on.
To this day I haven’t forgotten that conversation. Not because it brought me closer to adulthood. Not because it brought my closer to my father. Those things happened after the fact. I remember that conversation because it’s the last lecture. The last good talk I would ever have.
“But what I do know is this. When people die, what we regret is, not having talked to them enough” (Lessing, Doris. The Diaries of Jane Somers. New York: Vintage, 1984. p 62).
“I quote my father to people almost every day…Of course, when he have someone like my dad in your back pocket, you can’t help yourself” (Pausch, Randy. The Last Lecture. New York: Hyperion, 2008. p 23).