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Shadow Dad

Diana Paul | Ford Spencer

My dad—just got the annual note — “Spend this wisely.” Can almost imagine the tear tracks from having to write the check—an obligatory “gift” he sends every year to each of his three kids.On the very last day of the year. His accountant said he should. Part of “estate planning” he said. But Dad procrastinated. Didn’t start sending us checks until he turned 89. Died at 91.

What can I say about my father? The words “Dad” and “Daddy” get stuck in my throat. He was almost invisible to me—a shadow who sometimes startled me when I remembered he was in the room. In the 50’s growing up in Akron, Ohio most of my friends’ dads were the same—absent from our lives, working long hours in offices around town, coming home late. The shadow we sometimes saw at dinner.

About Diana Paul

Diana Y. Paul is an author and artist, living in Carmel, California. She is a former Stanford University professor who has published three books on Buddhism, written articles on US-Japan trade for California newspapers, and has a blog/website,

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