My Father’s Daughter, My Mother’s Faith

This year, Father’s Day falls on June 17th, just two days before the 17th anniversary of my father’s death. A lifelong smoker, he died of complications related to lung cancer when he was only 45 years old. I was just 10 years old, and that year, Father’s Day came just one day before his death. Though he was weak and confined to a hospital bed, that didn’t stop me from bringing him an ice cream sundae to celebrate the holiday and to let him know that sick or not, I thought he was the best dad around.

I am now almost 28 years old and, by most life metrics, a successful, happy, and Jewishly engaged young adult. People sometimes tell me my father would be proud of me; though I want to feel complimented, I can’t help but instead feel that these people know not of what they speak. Of course, I like to think they’re right – and in fact, I think they’re probably right, too – but how can anyone know whether my father would be proud of me? And aren’t most fathers proud of their daughters? Is this a compliment at all?


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