Today would have been my father’s 96th birthday. It is also the 11th anniversary of his death. Somehow he managed to begin and end his life on April 10.
Like all of us, he was a complicated man. I have many unanswered questions about choices he made back when I was a child, and even before then.
The things I am curious about had major influences on his life and who he became. In some instances I think I know what his reasoning would have been, but I never did ask when I got old enough to do so. I’m not sure if that is because I didn’t want to stir up old memories and emotions best left dormant, or whether I was just too self-centred to realize what I should be asking.
My Dad was one of the most generous people I have ever known, giving of his time, his talents and his resources. He was a man of deep faith.
Yet, to borrow from Bono, I think at times he felt he still hadn’t found what he was looking for. Life frequently didn’t unfold the way he hoped – but he pressed on, trusting God’s plan for the long term. I never asked him if he was happy with his life – but I always felt he was content.
I don’t consciously think about it, but I have realized that in many ways I try to be like my father. I don’t have his love for people, but I do try to treat others the way he did.
We are shaped by our parents and our upbringing – even those of us who never knew them. It was my privilege to have John Anderson as a father, as a role model. On this day especially, I miss him.