Around 11PM one evening in 1999, I got a phone call from my mother -- she was hysterical -- "your father's dead, your father's dead -- his plane has crashed". I listened with disbelief and horror. Was it true? "Turn on CNN-- he's dead. a plane has crashed." Sure enough, I turned on CNN and there was that red banner text at the top of the screen indicating a breaking story was occurring. A plane on route to Zurich (which was where my dad was headed) has been reported to have crashed that eve. That was all the information available at the time.
As I stayed on the phone with my mom, CNN was the lifeline of information. I determined fairly quickly that my mom had -- jumped to the worst possible outcome on insufficient information -- a well known personality trait. That said, the limited facts of the situation did leave one (i.e. me) with the uneasy possibility that this breaking story was going to affect my life. Despite that unease, I distinctly remember at that time thinking he can't die -- I'm not done with him yet. Which really meant that I wasn't done saying all that I needed to say to him.
The story got weirder before it got better. CNN announced that the plane that had crashed in Nova Scotia had originated in either Boston or NYC. That gave my family 50-50 odds of waking up the next day with a living father.
I got on the phone with my brother Larry -- we tried to get first hand information by calling Logan Airport. That attempt was a good try -- but unsuccessful. Suddenly, CNN reported a correction to their story. The plane was headed to Geneva and not to Zurich. Ahhh. Our good news was someone elses tragedy. Just like that -- the nightmare ended. It was a 3.5 hour dress rehearsal for a day that I hope doesn't come for a long time....the day my father dies.
That nightmare was a wake up call. I had to resolve my relationship with my dad. Time was urgent.
I've made a concerted effort to work on my relationship with burt sack -- my father. And for the most part -- I feel I've been successful. My relationship with my father has improved a lot. I've told him a lot of things that I've needed to say -- and he's heard me. He's told me a lot of things that he's needed to say -- and I've heard him.
So why am I writing all this tonight?! Well, I just want my dad to know that I love him and appreciate him. He really sacrificed a lot of himself to be as good a father and provider as he could. In particular, tonight, I appreciate the fact that my dad put me -- and my 3 brothers through college. That was a big gift and a big financial burden. If you're reading this dad -- Thank you. Your hard work is much appreciated.