My sister spoke calmly as she relayed the news of my father's heart attack.

As if she was reminding me of mom's birthday or needing something picked up at the store. "Oh," I replied not knowing what to say. Our father is a bit of a stranger, a maverick when it comes to parenting. He once told me to get out of his life and that I a bane on his existence.

The funny thing was that I have never asked of him anything, not a dollar or to show up for a single function. And there he was cursing me out, calling me an ingrate and a overwhelming sense of sorrow came over me. This man, my father, has severed relationships with his parents, sister and now he is trying to do the same with his only son.

Unhappy fuck, piss off, I said only to regret the words after the "ff" fell from my lips. Despite his bad attitude and lax approaching to fatherhood, he is a good man. His character flaws are no more numerous than anyone else yet his attributes are greater than most.

When he called me today to say his heart bypass will happen next week, I smiled. "You can't die yet old-timer," I said, "I got a birthday coming up in three months." Although there is a good chance he won't get me a present, I'll be happy to hear his voice say "Maybe next year" even if just for one more year.