The Inheritance of Love

Written on Father’s Day 2014 on the island my dad spent his summers as a kid.

Dad…I’m here. Here on the island…sitting on the front porch of the old cottage in the sun and wind, listening to the planes fly close overhead and watching the light play on the water.

These shores, covered in beach glass and sea urchins, these vining plants and old worn footpaths, have nurtured our family for generations. An escape from the city, right here in the middle of Boston Harbor. Wide open summertime freedom…no schedules, no cars, no electricity…just family…taking walks, skipping stones, playing cards, laughing, talking, bickering and feasting on seafood and pasta…Italian style!

This island is saturated with memory, steeped in the richness of family growing through generations…eating around the same table, sleeping in the same beds and walking along the same beaches.


This is a place where the ones passed one walk among the living. Being here feels like being with you and the rest of our loved ones who have crossed over…Cyndie, Grandma Olga, Auntie Bina, Uncle Vic, Paga…and all the ones who came before them…the ones who live in my heart only through story. The cottage feels crowded with all these souls gathered around.

As I return to this place that you shared with us it feels as if some mysterious dialogue is happening below the radar of my consciousness…some information being passed on from your soul to mine. It has the signature of tenderness and patience…of windswept wood and sea-tumbled glass…of the steadfastness of lifelong love and deep commitment to raising family.

I know you can feel my struggle and my worry. Raising kids in these modern times, far from family, far from tradition…straining to keep up with all the demands of the modern day and trying my darndest to do right by them…to give them something lasting they can count on. It weighs heavy in my heart and part of me wishes it could just be a sweet continuum of these old ways. Sunday dinners, family birthdays, the same old arguments round and round again.

But you and I both know that’s not an option anymore. The tides are shifting. The rules are changing. And we are heading into unchartered territory.


Somewhere below the radar of my consciousness I can feel you passing me a bundle…sharing with me what needs to be carried on even as we venture forward…for the kids and their kids and all those ones yet to be…through all the changes and the hard times.

The magical thread of love that has remained unbroken through all times and changes…through the wars and the family feuds…through the Great Depression and the economic booms…through the seasons and the years…that love…that love that I feel from you and Grandma and all the rest of them. You’re telling me now to let it pour through me into life, into the kids, into my words and works in the world. 

Dad…I love you! Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and all you’re doing now…Happy Father’s Day!

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