Last night I had the pleasure of celebrating my mom’s birthday with a good friend who I admire as both a creative and an entrepreneur. We went to see Neal Brennan’s show 3 Mics in Noho. The comedian went to each different mic to share emotional stories, stand up and one liners. As a creative person who has not been exercising her muscle, I found myself laughing and nodding in agreement throughout the bits.
Neal talked about his critical and nasty father who admitted that he did not really love him and specifically omitted him from his will. His dad apparently tried to control his children with money. On his death bed, his father called him to his side trying to get him to plea to be reinstated in the will. What a shmuck. To spend his final moments with his son trying in a messed up power play versus sharing a sweet memory is a complete waste.
It made me realize that for all of my dad’s nonsense and controlling techniques, he was not such a bad guy. On his deathbed, my dad made jokes and celebrated his family. He never missed an opportunity to tell me he loved me or how proud he was to be my father. Yes, he tried to control me with his money both when he was alive and, as my mom promised, from the grave. While he told us one thing and his will said another, my siblings and I are treated equally, making for a united front that has only brought us closer together.
Brennan talked about the vulnerability of doing stand-up as opposed to being creative with another person whom he could hide behind. Somehow the security blanket of having a celebrity beside you gave him courage and now in an effort to live more fully he is branching out on his own. His dad’s narcissism and his desire for approval influenced his work. I remember writing spec scripts and sharing them with my dad, then being disappointed when he did not find time to read them.
We should all be so lucky to lose our parents. It’s the right cycle of life. And when it happens, there is a sense of liberation. I see how my brother has been able to thrive without the shadow of my dad following him. His wife commented on how it was not until my dad’s final year of his life that my brother garnered enough courage to say no directly to my dad. No hiding or evading or stretching the truth as to why he would not be at his beckon call. He regrets not being able to do that sooner. Personally, I credit my husband with helping me stand up to my parents and not be so dependent on their approval.
All of this on what would have been my mothers 68th birthday. I know she would have been pleased that I went out spontaneously to see a great show. More importantly she must be so pleased that my brother sister and I have all broken free from any chains she or my dad may have held.