I don't have a good relationship with my father. Never have. He doesn't seem capable of opening up and saying how he really feels. I have discussed this with my mother and she says he loves her and will be open with her, but not often. He finds it very difficult. My siblings feel the same about him. Is there anything I can do before we all crawl into the grave?
~Lookin' for Dad
Dear Lookin' for Dad,
Your father is probably the last of that generation who feel it is unmanly to be emotional. They are most concerned about what other men thing of them, not their family. They have hit all the bases of marriage, family and taking care of everyone but in many ways haven't grown up completely themselves.
My suggestion is not a long talk, that will not happen. What I do with all the repressed people in my life is distract them. Take your dad and go on a fun trip. Go to New York, go to the theater, go to dinner, get a little drunk. Just make sure he has some fun. Then at least you've given back for his having taken care of you and giving you a secure life until you left home. And even if it wasn't all that secure, give him some good times. People really need that. And it doesn't bring them closer to you. Having fun together can be just as good or maybe better than that confessional moment. Which for many people can never happen. Show him you love him - you don't have to tell him.