"He was a giant of a man," Solomon's mother said. "That's what I want to put there."

"Mom, please," Solomon said.

"Well, that's who he was to me."

Solomon studied his mother. She was a young 73. She could dance to rock and roll music until the early hours of morning, and said whatever was on her mind, regardless of the consequences. She was thinner, perhaps 105 pounds, because she now lived alone in a four bedroom house, with no one to feed except herself. Beneath her smile, she seemed lost.

"Let's just say Dad was a loving husband, father and grandfather," Avraham said.

What needed to be done was placing a headstone on their father's gravesiteAvraham, Solomon's younger brother, was the peacemaker. The family listened to him because he said things in a warm, loving way. Solomon was too demanding, even if he was wiser. Being the wiser, Solomon learned to suggest to Avraham what needed to be done, and then let him explain it to his mother.

What needed to be done was placing a headstone on their father's gravesite. What they would engrave on it was the topic of discussion – and this discussion, like many of their discussions, was turning into an argument.

"Let's keep it simple," Solomon suggested. "I like what Avraham said."

"What's wrong with 'Giant of a Man?'"

"Mom," Avraham answered, "it's a little too much. 'Giant of a Man' is something you would put on Abraham Lincoln's tombstone. Or George Washington's."

"Well, I want to say more than just 'Loving husband, father, and grandfather.' Let's put, 'Loving husband and best friend, dedicated father and doting grandfather. He will be missed forever.' "

"Mom," Solomon answered, "it's still too much. Dad is going to have to live with this gravestone for the rest of his life. Let's write something on it that – what? What did I say wrong now?"

His mother and brother stared at him like he was crazy until Solomon understood. He had still had not gotten over it, or learned to deal with it.

His father was dead.

"Yisgadal vyiskadash shmay rabbah ...."

Solomon had been saying kaddish, the mourner's prayer, for his father for nine months, and still, he choked up. He concentrated on saying the prayer well and distinctly. But with so many feelings misunderstood, so many words left unsaid, so much pain unresolved... many times Solomon stopped midway through the prayer and let his brother finish because he could not continue.

How do I resolve this, Solomon asked himself. How do I stop being angry at him, and let the love come out? How?

Solomon waited until the Amidah, the main prayer, and covered his head with his prayer shawl and talked to G‑d straight from his heart.

"Shalom, G‑d," Solomon began.

"How are You? How is Your life?"

Enough intellectual speculation, Solomon told himselfSolomon contemplated G‑d's infinite existence. Was it a blessing or a curse to be eternal? What was important when you could not die? Would love make you sad because someday it would disappear? Or did nothing disappear – just pass into other states of existence?

Enough intellectual speculation, he told himself. It was time for more important matters.

"I need your help, G‑d. My heart is damaged and can't heal. Show me how to grow from this. Show me how to stop being angry at my father's mistakes. I just want to feel the love I had for him."

Tears poured out of Solomon's eyes, and he breathed deeply as some of the pain left.

"Please, help me."

Solomon hoped that G‑d would touch his heart, and transform his pain into wisdom. But it didn't happen. When he opened his eyes and rubbed away the tears, Solomon felt no different.

It will take time, Solomon thought. There are no magic fixes. With time, hopefully I will forget my father's mistakes, and replace them with good memories... like...

When Dad took the family on a PT boat around the Statue of Liberty when he was in the Navy...

Or when he taught me how to ride a bicycle in the basement of our New Jersey apartment building....

I remember him showing me how to oil my new baseball glove...

... and teaching me and my friends how to play box ball and curb ball, a game city kids played because they didn't have a grassy baseball field nearby...

I remember him showing me how to put wax on my yoyo string so the yoyo spun better and I could do 'rock the cradle' and 'around the world'...

Life is best lived with love in your heartThere was the time he explained to me what it was like to live through the Great Depression, and then bought an expensive record player for the family....

I'll never forget when he wrote me a note about my first serious love, predicting it would end badly, which it did, because she wasn't really right for me...

There was a flood of memories now where his father tried, as best he could, to be a father. After a while, Solomon thought, "enough already." It is time to put the pain away. Life is best lived with love in your heart, because that love multiplies and renews itself. It is a blessing that begets blessings.

Then Solomon smiled.

Perhaps G‑d was helping after all.