I was watching a documentary on the Israeli raid on Entebbe and they were interviewing the operators on the raid. One of them said that when he returned he saw his father. His father had lost his entire family in the Holocaust and had been in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp himself. He told his father that, “…we are now able to rescue Jews around the world and this is something that Jews had been unable to do when my father and his family needed rescuing.” He concluded by saying, “My father said, ‘you’ve done well.’ He was proud.”
Here’s a guy who had taken part in one of the most successful rescue operations in the history of the world and what he was most happy about was that his father was proud of him. I connected with the man because of that. As men, we look for the recognition of our fathers and want to make them proud. It made me recall my last conversation with my father.
The last conversation I had with my father went something like this on the phone about a week before he passed away. I don’t remember the entire specific conversation, but I recall two snippets of the talk and it went something like this:
“Dad, you do what you need to do.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Well, if the pain is too much and you need to go, I understand.”
“Eric, I don’t even know what that means.”
“Then don’t worry about it.”
“Dad, I love you. I always have and I always will.”
(I hear him kind of laugh)
“Eric, I’ve know that my entire life. I love you too.”
I spoke with him often once I got to his house before he passed away. But he was unable to respond except in half-smiles and eyes of recognition. In retrospect, I think dad knew what I meant, but I don’t think he knew how to quit or give up.
One of the reasons I include this on my blog is because I don’t want to forget this conversation. I have a horrible memory. I want to be able to tell my kids this information when I’m old, just as my father told me his last talks with his father.