I talk to my dad a lot. I can’t make him well and I can’t ease his physical pain, but I asked myself what I could do. All he really ever wanted was for people to listen. So, now we talk on the phone, and chat on AOL.

He’s talking about a lot of things in life. He’s not afraid of dying, but he’s wondering if he’ll be judged for the sin committed when he and my mother had an affair while they were both married to other people. I told him that I truly believe there can be no sin in love. And they love each other so much, and they love all their daughters. I don’t believe in a punishing God, but I believe in love. My parents brought me up to try to do the right things and treat other people well. My mother taught me to be optimistic and believe in the good of others. I believe God knows my dad loves my mother, my sisters, and me, and has already forgiven the mistakes made and hurt that was unintentionally caused as a result.

One new thing I learned from those conversations was that he didn’t want to have any more children after they married, but my mother stubbornly insisted. And that’s the story of how I came into this world.

Last time I was up for a visit, he pulled me aside to go through their financial records of savings, investments, and income, and asked me to make sure my mom made it last. I said I would do what I could to support her, but that she’d want to make her own decisions. He also advised that it would be fine with him if she met and married another man. I laughed that it probably would not be the first thing on her list of things to do, but when the time was right, I would definitely let her know how he felt. He explained that he didn’t want anything fancy for his funeral, which he feels are a huge waste of money. Most important, he didn’t want to be a part of any of the decision making or know the details.

He has been selling a lot of his magic collection but gave me a crystal ball that has fascinated me since I was little. It is the only material thing I wanted.