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Some People Can’t Respond

On June 19, 2012 I was 79 years old, and starting to live my 80th year. I decided to write down Things I Have Learned So Far:

5. Some People Can’t Respond

Staying in touch with my Dad was one-way most of the time. I remembered his birthday. I remembered him at Christmas. He didn’t remember me at either most years.

When I was older and went to Indianapolis, I was the one that called him. When I did, he was always glad to hear from me and we would get together, but he never did the initiating.

When I had moved to New York and was in therapy, I wrote Dad a letter and said that it needed to be two ways, or I was going to never write him or call him again.

He immediately wrote and asked me not to do that.

I sent him the four children’s birthdays, and reminded him of mine. He sent cards to Donna and David in February but by April did not remember Debra and Dara. In June he sent me a picture of himself.

My therapist (Frank West) recommended that I not follow through and cut him off completely and I continued to stay in touch.

When he died in 1979 at the age of 69, Celeste, one of his two daughters in his second marriage, had made all the arrangements. At the Portland funeral service I said to her that he never contacted me. She said, “Oh, he couldn’t do that—he never called me either—but if you called him, he was absolutely there.”

It was a lesson to me and after that I evaluated how important certain friends were to me and if they were the type that couldn’t initiate, I would continue to do the calling.

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