Elegy for an absentee father

My father, Mike Boaz, as a high school senior in 1963 at Oxon Hill High School in Maryland.

This is how I want to remember you
The handsome star athlete
Voted “Cutest Seniors” with Holly Rodgers

The superlative version of you
From your glory days
Sadly gone “in the wink of a young girl’s eyes”

Now that would be
One hell of a eulogy

Alas, the story does not end here
We had to figure out how our unhappy family
Was going to be unhappy in its own way

Dad, you died yesterday
But you departed us a long time ago
I grieved, then, when you left

Estranged is not the right word
It’s not a verb; it lacks action
And while we still told each other, “I love you”

You had a choice
You always had a choice
And you did not choose us

I don’t know if it was pride or shame
Or maybe a bit of both
That kept you away

I simply wanted to play catch with you
See you in the stands at a game or two
And share with you

What I thought would make you
Proud of me

I hate that you are the villain
In my earliest memory
Stepping on broken glass
From your beer bottle
At age three

I do not blame you
For the divorce
I gained a stepdad
And he has been my dad
And a brother I would not have had

I do not blame you
For dodging Vietnam
God only knows
If you would’ve made it home
And where would we be?

Mom says sometimes
All a parent can give you
Is life

And for that I am grateful

You left us with a bit more
A priceless inheritance:

You gave me a sister who watched over me
You gave me Rumi, Lao Tzu, and John O’Donohue
You gave me Dylan Thomas, Kipling, and Bob Dylan too

This is how I want to remember you
Not as the “little boy blue and the man in the moon”

I would gladly forfeit the enlightenment from all of their works
If it meant you were less miserly with what I wanted most

Time with you

Me, Nate Boaz, as a high school junior in 1994 at Eastside High School in Gainesville, Florida.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Nate Boaz

Nate Boaz

Dad, dog lover, Marine veteran, Author, Ex-McKinsey Partner, Ex-Accenture SMD, Harvard MBA, USNA alum.