Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Tribute to My Dad

I'm a little late for Father's Day... was traveling and completely unwired -- except for my dying cell phone. I first published this as an Actor's Break article a couple of years ago, but wanted to share it with you.



Eight years ago this month, my Dad died. Sometime in the night, sitting in his chair in the family room, TV on, in his sleep, he died of congestive heart failure.

I didn't cry a lot for him. I cried for my Mom. She loved him so much.

I was at first puzzled why I didn't cry much. But then I read something and I understood.

When someone dies, we cry mainly because of regret. Regret over what we should have said, what we should NOT have said, what we did, the time we never spent... Regret.

Although I do, of course, have some regrets related to my Dad, I am grateful to say I am very much okay with his death.

And here's why...
  1. He died peacefully and did not suffer. The remote was next to his hand on the easy chair. No evidence of any pain in those last moments.

  2. Because he did not suffer, the suffering of his family was minimalized. (My Mom might think otherwise, but I know my Dad agrees.)

  3. (And this is the biggest reason) He and I were okay with each other -- but that's not how it always was. He learned to say "I love you," and I do believe that was due in some large part to me.
When I was in high school and college, he would actually avoid saying it. I remember whenever I would call home from college, when it came time to say good-bye, I would say, "Love you, Dad," and he would say, "okay," or "here's your mother," or just anything. And it seemed it always caught him off guard.

But I'd say it anyway.

I knew it was hard for him, knowing the way he grew up. I decided I would continue saying it.

I wrote a letter to him from college once, a sort of coming-to-terms letter. I told him I knew that
he loved me, that he didn't have to say it -- it was okay.

Finally, one day, at the end of a conversation, I said, "I love you, Dad." He said, "I love you too,

He always said it after that. We were able to relate on a better level after that.

I love my Dad very much.

And I realize something.

I founded The Empowered Actor Initiative, and have been working so hard on this business in large part as a tribute to my Dad.

The reason is... he knew so much, such a wealth of knowledge. He could have written volumes... He talked about it a lot, about writing. But he never did it.

I think he would really have enjoyed the power of the Internet. I certainly am. Once this company gets rolling I am going to be able to communicate with so many actors.

My Dad didn't have an avenue for sharing his knowledge, except through his job, and family.
A shame. He could have shared it with the world.

So that's my quest: to share my knowledge, to find every avenue possible with every actor who wants it.

It is a whole new thing for me, communicating via the internet. I have eBooks and CDs I've
created for actors, then instantly want to make them better.

I've had many disappointments with how long it seems to take to develop something meaningful... trouble with servers, fulfillment of materials... all part of a learning curve for me, how to communicate with YOU effectively.

Dad, I know you are by my side, cheering me on.

I love you,