One of the things I’ve heard most often in this week since my father’s death is, “I didn’t know George was your father!” Or in another form, “I didn’t know you were George’s daughter!”
It’s an odd thing. As an attorney in a small town, I have a certain social position and visibility at the level of the courts, in government,with the media. A lot of people know who I am.
My father , George Wright, led a busy public life. He moved to our little town in the mid-1990s and made this place his own. He served a term on the school board. He went to city council meetings, county commission meetings, all sorts of meetings. He espoused fiscal conservatism for the Libertarians and the Citizens Against Government Waste and Taxpayers Action Network. He was the guy that led a protest outside the post office on April 15, and the guy that organized a program year after year celebrating veterans of wars long-past. Lots of people knew him, and if the round of cards and comments I’ve received this month are any indication, a lot of people respected the hell out of him. He was The Guy.
But even though we know many of the same people, many of them movers and shakers, we really never appeared together. He didn’t come to my booksignings; I didn’t go to his Tea Party rallies. We understood it was okay.
We had very different political opinions, and neither of us was shy about expressing that. One of those agree to disagree kind of things. He also had the patience to sit through hours of what I considered pointless rhetoric and debate. And read every handout they gave him for the school board and all the other boards he was on. Not me. I have a life, too many kids, too many obligations, too many cases, too many books to write. Give me the bottom line and I’ll give you a yes or no.
Occasionally over the years, someone would discover the relationship. We’d both smile and make little excuses and giggle a little about it later. Sometimes it came out when people met the Cabana Boy, and he introduced himself (with the last name he gave me) as George’s son-in-law. sometimes it just happened when one of us happened to cross into the orbit of the other. It wasn’t that we tried to hide it; somehow it mostly never came up. We never really made a point of it. We each succeeded on our own. That was okay.
I confess, that last ten days was hard. I’m still having nightmares about his death process, done the way he requested it, pain management only. The actual day by day decline was not what I expected, though Karen and the other Hospice nurses were genuine angels in helping me through it. I still get teary-eyed when someone I haven’t seen yet shares their sympathies. There are so many who have something nice to say about my father. So many.
And even if no one ever knew it before, I’d tell anyone now. This was my dad. I agree with all of you that he was something special. I hope he knew how much he meant to you. Thanks for sharing him with me.