My father and I were never really close. Partly because, I suspect, that “being close” was not part of our family’s skill set. No one talked about feelings. No one talked about anything really. Complaints, yes. And angry arguments on an alarmingly regular basis. Was this partly due to our family’s rich history of substance abuse and its consequent guilt and isolation? As has always been my custom, I broke with tradition, put down the substances and started talking about things (I think I was the first family member to say “I love you” to another). It took some time for my family to get used to this. Usually I’d drop an L-bomb, then keep my distance, letting people digest. I remember the last time few times I visited my father in New Jersey. Each time I told him I loved him, he would cry, silently.