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|Family Matters - Page 3|
I've evolved into a different person. Having been born into another world, I've followed a different path into adulthood, but one that still embodies fragments of my father's life—my occasional quick temper, my impatience, my high expectations of myself and others, the value I place on loyalty and respect, my support for the underdog and sensitivity to oppression, my standing up for what I believe in and maintaining my integrity in the face of risks. I know I'm my father's son when I realize how easily I can have thoughts of "knocking someone's block off," or when I tear up at an emotional moment. Fortunately, my life has been freed from the occasional need for violence that was both an inescapable feature of my father's early life and a part of his nature. His actions taught me valuable lessons about caring and family, but my survival, and the survival of those I care about, don't depend on my physical abilities in the way his did. Possibly because he made me feel safe and supported as a child, I don't feel the same need to be physically aggressive and violent. Though not as ferocious or intense as he could be, I still embody the seed of his will to survive, to protect, and to love.
On the day of my father's funeral, in West Palm Beach, Florida, the clouds darkened, the winds howled, the skies opened, rain fell in torrents, streets flooded, roads were washed out. It was a strong storm, which kept all but the hardiest and most persistent from attending. The heavens exploded in violence, making a show of awesome power, a rumble in the universe. He'd have liked that—challenging those he cared about to show how much they cared back. As the casket holding his body was lowered into the ground, the clouds lightened, the wind abated, the skies cleared, and the sun came out.
Steven Friedman, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, writer, and teacher living in Quincy, Massachusetts. Contact: email@example.com. Tell us what you think about this article by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at www.psychotherapynetworker.org. Log in and you'll find the comment section on every page of the online Magazine section.