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StoryCorps

A father decides to be a different kind of father than his was

After losing his mother to cancer, David Wartowski is finding his relationship with his father, Tom, even more important.

Tom has had his own struggles with cancer and depression.

The pair visited the Chicago StoryCorps booth to remember David’s mother, whom they affectionately called Musiu, and to talk about their own relationship.

Tom: … My father was very, very strict (crying). He would always criticize what I did, and he thought by calling me lazy and stupid that I would turn out to be industrious and hardworking and smart. But really, it had the counter effect. He pretty much convinced me that I wasn’t bright and that I was lazy.

David: You know, it turned out your relationship with me, with your son, was very little, I think, like the relationship you had with your father.

Tom: Yeah, there were some things I said I wasn’t going to do - corporal punishment my father used a lot. I wasn’t going to use that.

Tom tells his son he struggled with depression, but that his wife, David’s mother, changed his life.

David: You were diagnosed with cancer in..

Tom: 2001

David: Shortly after Musiu died of cancer … I was in my roughly mid-20s thinking I would lose both of my parents without any siblings.

Listen to the audio above to hear more of David and Tom’s story.

Katie Mingle is a producer for WBEZ and the Third Coast Festival. 

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