Fathers are the buffer pads between the Sons and the Heavens. As long as they walk the earth, it holds true that, barring our middle-age mistakes turning deadly, they would have to pass into Elysium before we ever would.
And then, they do.
It’s harrowing to lose your father. As kids, these were the giant, indestructible beacons that we followed into dark caves. Onto klieg-lit football fields. Down steep slopes and over impassable angry rivers. They were there, and we felt safe. And for no reason more than… they were there.
They did fatherly things, which we absorbed like sponges.
And then they melded into wise men who took everything less seriously, just as we took everything more so. They were gentlemen, even in the absence of ladies. They embraced the values of their past, even as they watched the values of the future erode. Their stories got better each year, as their memories got worse. And so time heals all.
Until, just at the moment we begin to think them indestructible, they are gone and leaving us, the sons, with no buffer. We now step up as the next in line. We now impart any wisdom we have, given or acquired, to our sons. Sons who have about a half a lifetime to learn the same lesson.
When you lose your buffer, you become one.