Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fathers and sons

New haircut
Oliver Sacks revealed in a New York Times essay recently that he is dying of liver cancer and that he plans to devote the time he has left only to those things that enrich his life: reading, writing, and the companionship of friends; no more nightly news; but disconnecting from the world. Such as it is. And trusting the intelligence and resolve of the next generation to address its problems. 

I share this point of view with the exception that I would ask for one more thing to enrich what’s left of my time here. I would like to be reconciled to my son, just turned 44, Jeremy lives across the continent from me; we have been out of touch for years now. All I have of him are a few photos and some memories, Of memories, the sweetest are of his boyhood. 

Like this one:

I recall his excitement when he bought me a tie at someone’s yard sale and ran to show it to me. I
kept that tie for years, never forgetting that day. He was born on a bright winter day following a stormy night with thunder in the hills around a small town in northern Pennsylvania.I remember also the stormy look on his face as the nurse brought him out to us to see for the first time. 

Storminess would turn out to be the character of much of his adolescence, which is when the rift between us seemed to begin. He was a gifted student and tested into the gifted programs in his schools. He loved the gifted summer programs at the college where I taught. I think they made him feel not so isolated and bereft of the friendship of others like himself. Brave, courageous, generous, and big-hearted, he ventured into the Balkans during that war and its aftermath to lend his hand to reconstruction and peacekeeping efforts.

I often think I could’ve been a better father to him. For better or worse, I tried to bring him up as I had been taught, To be resilient, self-sufficient, self-protective and, I’m sad to say, often emotionally detached, I recognize his isolation today as originating in me, handed down from my own father and family background. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jeremy has a lot of issues with me which I would not disagree with  

But I’m hoping that he reads this and understands how much I miss him and care about him. A while ago,  I wanted to jump on a plane and show up at his door and say, “What’s up? Don’t you know that I love you?” Unsure of myself and my impulsiveness I thought better of it .I wish now I had done it. Too long now, and too proud, I’ve been trusting him to make that a wish of his own. 

19 comments:

  1. Mayyou have a chance to reconnect with your son, Ron. This is touching!

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  2. Once in a while we are touched with grace, unsought but there. And it doesn't matter whether we are believers; only that the grace is suddenly there, unbought. You are filled with that grace. May you and your son shake hands sometime soon.

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  3. I hope the reconnection happens. I read the piece by Sachs as well, a writer I admire. Good words to live by.

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  4. Call him up if you have his number or can get it and see what's on his mind and have a great reunion.

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    1. i have it. he screens his calls.

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    2. I'm sorry for that, Ron. He doesn't know what he is missing. I hope he reads your blog.

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  5. He's the same as as my son, Donovan, also emotionally detached, but does live down the hill from us, in the house where I grew up. I hope the opening he needs to reach out to you comes - maybe from your daughter?

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  6. Ron, I sincerely hope your son reads this poignant missive and gets in touch with you.

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  7. So sad to read this but happy you are reaching out to him. Know several similar stories and all are highly intelligent people and their similarly smart kids. They seem to suffer from certain sorts of problems. I so hope he sees this. Have you posted in on facebook. He may well read about you there.

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  8. Jeremy: Please, please, please.

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  9. Ron, I hope that your son will reach out to you. If not, you know you have done the best you can. That's what parents do - just the best they know how. Peace and love, Laurie

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  10. Ron, I know how unlikely it is that you'll see this, but I wanted to write and tell you how much I've enjoyed your blog posts and how much I've admired your courage in your tough fight. I'm glad you got to talk to your son, and I extend my sympathies to your family in this hard time. I wish you godspeed and peace on your last ride to the Big Corral.

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  11. Having read Bilĺ's post, i am assum that Ron's condition is a lot worse than what I had been deducing from Ron's continued postings on BITS. It's been amazing pleasure Ron, to meet you almost every day on your blog. It's been amazing how you have created this community of 'blog' friends around you and your writings. We miss you badly and you're in my thoughts every time I see the icon for BITS on my phone and IPad. They will stay there forever. Thank you Ron.

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  12. Dear Ron, I realise you may not get to see this, so it is as much to your beloved wife and family that I direct my gratitude for your presence in my life these hardest six months of it. Despite your own difficulties, and limited as you were through your troublesome left hand, you wrote to me and showed genuine care about my plight and progress. It is deeply appreciated and, like you, will not be forgotten. Thank you. Becoming settled again is looking more promising, but if you are to remain absent from our lives, then you will always be a missing part of any better days to come. Your mails and posts will be treasured, though, and I wish you well on the current part of your life's journey, a journey we are all following your footsteps in, and which, though we would prefer not to know its ending, just might find it turns out to be something to embrace rather than dread. If that be so, then, who knows, maybe one day we will indeed meet again. I certainly hope so. Love, Paul.

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  13. Best wishes to another son of Nebraska, storyteller, book lover.

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  14. Ron,

    Thank you for your gifts and insights. You enriched my life more than I can say. I will miss you.

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  15. Thank you Ron; you made the world a better place to be. We miss you. Michael

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  16. A late interview: http://tomrizzo.com/storytellers-7-ron-scheer-literary-legacy/

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