Saturday, April 08, 2006

Farewell, Part 2

Early Friday morning, my father died...

I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to say good bye, and that I was able to say thank you to him... but most of all, I feel fortunate to have had him as a father.

In a letter I wrote to him in February, I said:

There’s so much I have to thank you for, that it’s hard to know where to begin. I feel somewhat like the winner of an Oscar, on stage preparing to thank everyone that contributed to their success. But, in fact, although my list of things to be thankful is long, the list of people to thank is relatively short. What is clear is that you and Mom are at the top of the list.

Thank you first of all, for being who you are and setting an example for everyone who has known you.

You have demonstrated honesty, and expected the same from me. You have demonstrated integrity before I understood what the word meant, and let me discover it on my own, through your example. You have demonstrated responsibility, and guided me with a loving and gentle hand to learn responsibility and to enjoy myself along the way. And, you have demonstrated love and compassion for all of us, and especially for the way you’ve lived your life and marriage with Mom.


And, although I suppose it’s a part of your integrity, your determination is unique and stands above others as well. It is rare that you tackle a job, or pursue a goal and then give up. I’m sure that there are a few challenges that you’ve faced where you realized that you had to give up. But, off hand, I can’t think of any I’ve witnessed.

Probably one of the most impressive examples of your determination has been your response to your illness over the past few years. You have demonstrated a degree of determination that can only be described as courageous. Again, your positive outlook in the face of adversity has been an example to all around you. And, even as you have been weakened, and reached a point where determination might not be enough, and while it has been hard for all of us close to you to see you suffer, you have demonstrated a patience and grace that are an inspiration to all of us.


The world is a better place because of the time he was here.

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