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Every one of us has stories to share.  While stories might have clear story lines; reality and relationships are rarely that simple.  Very little in this world is black or white; gray flakes are scattered everywhere.

Ten years ago, my father died.  He was kind and loving; he was the most amazing storyteller I knew and he never met a stranger.  My father was also weak and emotionally unable to keep me safe as a child.  And somehow, I learned to detach from that last part of the story; I learned to love him for who he was and to value the endless gifts he did give me.  In order to have a relationship with him, I chose to de-emphasize the struggles.

Tears trickle down my face when I recall the torment that my father suffered as he dealt with his own demons.  Financial, emotional, and physical challenges plagued him from my early teen years.  I wonder if he knew just how horrible my mother was to me; he should have seen the bruises around my neck, the black eyes, or the many cuts.  Somehow, I am not sure he realized how bad it was; he was never home and when he was, he hid downstairs. Just the same, he did have some clue, if anything; he knew the realities that surrounded my mother’s physical and mental life.

At the same time, the nature of my life with my father gave me the foundation for who I became as an adult.  I love people; I generally get a long with most every soul that I meet.  I walk down the street and make friends with homeless people, animals, and children.  My 14 year-old son, Dovi, frequently asks me if someone I just met has become my close friend.  And for that moment in time, the stranger becomes my closest confidant or more than likely I have just heard their life story because I was willing to listen.

Music is part of my daily life.  I listen, I sing, I chant, I drum and on a good day I can hold a tune or rhythm and on a bad day, I enjoy myself nonetheless.  Dad used to own record stores and a wholesale record house.  As I got older, my dad would let me work with him and there I would find friends and have a good time being surrounded with music and people that loved music.  My childhood had tolerable moments because of my father’s profession; when his business was able to sustain our family, I was a little safer. I loved that his work got me out of the house and that I could work with him too.

During the weekends and sometimes the summers, my father and I would go for long drives.  We would eat whatever cravings I was into that month; we would sing the popular hits, oldies, and anything that was playing on the radio.  We would laugh and share stories too.  When we were together, it was mostly great fun; the dark shadow was close by, but it didn’t detract from our time away from the house.  When we were working, driving, and just hanging out, we had fun.

Dad taught me how to smile, to share stories, and to live in the present moment.  He also taught me how to live when darkness loomed close by.  I don’t think I would be able to navigate the world or go with the flow the way I do if I didn’t have my father as a role model.  Yes it is sad that he stayed with my mother, but perhaps he felt like he had no choice.  I can understand that.  It wasn’t good for me, but in the end I made out OK.

My hope is that I take all the wisdom that was part of the man I knew and treasure it; and that I acknowledge the realities, but let them go.  Peace comes from knowing that I can do things differently than my father.  So, I will quietly (and sometimes loudly) navigate this world and I will do the best I can do with the tools my father gave me.

Ten years later, I think I may miss him more now because I have learned to let go of some of the pain and to treasure the memories.  I also believe I am a good storyteller because I was blessed to hear my father tell stories to every person that crossed his path.

May Morry Bloomberg’s memory be a blessing for good.

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