For those of you who do not know, my father Joseph Portelli died last week. He was 80 years old, in bad shape and went to his Maker in peace. I was and still am both grieving and grateful. I miss him yet am thankful that his pain is over. All the ceremonies are done now. My brothers have went home and I am here with my mother who is holding it together far better than I. Surprisingly the drama has been ignored though it may bubble to the surface eventually. But while I am my mother's son with her patience as a peacekeeper, I have enough of my father not to simply let things happen.

My father was a quiet, hard-working man though he kept his emotions to himself. This led to a very frustrating relationship and things were said and done that were regrettable. While he might have not been the ideal father in some regards, I was not the best of sons, either. I have forgiven my father long ago and I can only hope that he will forgive me.

While I have not been posting recently, I have been reading in between the business and the constant running around. The momentary distractions have been a great comfort.

Anyway, the point of this is that in 1975, I saw The Avengers #137 (Jl'75) with the amazing John Romita cover featuring the Beast. I was nine years old and immediately mesmerized by it. For the first time that I can remember, I asked my father directly for a quarter for a comic book and, to my surprise, he gave me one! I didn't do that often but I was no longer afraid to ask.

I put a copy of The Avengers #137 in my father's casket as a token of the love and respect that I have for him. Also that the 1975 Avengers might watch over him as well as the Saints.

But what I realized that while my father wasn't thrilled that I read comic books, that he didn't understand why I read comics (then and now), my father never stopped me from reading comic books.

Rest In Peace, Dad. I will miss you!

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I know this pain, good luck.

A beautiful gesture Philip and a nice little written tribute to him. So sorry for your loss. I know you couldn't have done more for him over the last few years.  He was lucky to have you.

Sorry for your loss, Philip.  Thank you for sharing this.

My own dad worked hard (ran his own grocery store) and had almost no leisure time, but he was always around, and I'm grateful for that. If he saw a comic book he thought I'd like, he'd get it for me.

Hang to to those memories!

I think you're a pretty awesome son, and I bet your Dad knew it, too.

My father worked a low wage job, including almost every Saturday. We never had vacations together and could only afford to go to the beach and Knott's Berry Farm, which back then had free admission. In the fall of 1962, I asked him to read Fantastic Four 5, 6, and 10, the first three appearances of Doctor Doom. He said they were good (a man of few words). Little did I know that he had less than a year to live. When I returned to comics after a year's absence my first one was FF #22, almost certainly because I remembered Dad's reading the older ones.

My condolences for your loss, Philip.  My father never understood why I loved comics, either, but it was his dimes and quarters that bought me my first ones, and he never, ever discouraged me from enjoying what I enjoyed.  Part of good Dadship (my son's word) is letting us know that its OK to be ourselves.

My condolences, Philip.  Randy's Howard the Duck thread brought back memories of my own old man, who saw me reading an issue and got years of yucks out of the fact that I would read such a thing. I don't think it's unusual for fathers and sons to have "problematic" relationships, but when we're lucky, we can come to understand one another in time.

Thank you all for the kind words. They mean a lot!

So sorry for your loss, Philip.

Thanks for sharing your (and his) story as well.

I'm so sorry for your loss, Phillip. That was a wonderful gesture.

My sympathies, Phillip.  My mother died this past February 28, at age 70, after spending a month in the hospital with a variety of ailments.  Although she came through that surgery ok, she was never quite her old self again afterwards.  I knew her health was frail and that any day I might get word that she had died.  Still, until that final night, when I heard the doctor say that she had only hours left (and died about 75 minutes later).  My stepfather, a WWII veteran, aged 88, and I were with her until the very end, my eyes wavering between her face and her heart monitor -- watching her heart rate steadily incline downward, occasionally spiking up, but then down even further.  Until it got to zero and that line went flat. 

My mom was never into superhero comics, but she did enjoy reading my copies of Howard the Duck, and as a girl she had been a fan of Donald Duck comics.  And it was mostly due to her influence that I came to love reading all sorts of material -- novels, history, science, philosophy, and, yes, comics.

It's so terribly hard to lose a loved one, even under the best of circumstances.  She died in bed with loved ones by her side, giving her words of love and comfort as she slipped away.  As in your case with your father, I was glad the physical suffering my mother endured during her final weeks was over and that she didn't wind up in an extended state of dementia.  Still, I'll miss her however much longer my own life continues.

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