How to Grieve a Father’s Heart
I don’t know how old I was,maybe seven or eight, when one night,
in the dead of Pennsylvania winter
our coal furnace went outand frost usually delegated
to the back room painted all the windows.
My teeth chattered and I said how cold I was.
Pain registered on my dad’s pinched brow
and he said, “Are you trying to make me feel bad?”
I was shocked. I had no ideahe felt he had anything to do with my being cold.
In that moment, I saw all my dad did—
work at the steel mill
hunt and fish
raise a garden
take care of house and yard—
came from a responsible, loving father’s heart,
which I had grieved with my simple words of complaint,
kind of like the Israelites in the wilderness
when they grumbled against God.