Obituaries... a final essay if you will. A short paragraph that grieving survivors piece together to notify others of their loss. A short paragraph in which we try to convey to others who the deceased was. An essay which rarely does justice or explains who the person really was or why they were special. As you can see from the obit above, my Dad passed away seven years ago today. All the obit shows however, is a few of the places he lived, some of his accomplishments and who he was survived by.
Still, the fact that my Dad actually grew up to be happy and pretty adjusted is a miracle. He grew up and went on to study religion, at his parents' urging, at Capital University, which back in the day was pretty well known for it's education of Lutheran ministers. Dad ended up failing or leaving with a D average. I don't believe it was due to a lack of faith, he would later become heavily involved in our Church when we were growing up and he was always a man of faith.... I think rather it's because he found someone he cared for, fell in love with and his grades suffered. Also, I think he subconsciously knew it wasn't his true calling.
Although he left the university, he was there long enough to meet one of his lifelong friends and us childrens' Godfather: Paul, who continued on and became a Lutheran minister. They were birds of a feather and enjoyed the college life. Amongst their experiences at college, was a White Castle eating competition, which is the stuff of legend. I think they both made into well into the forties, before Dad got sick.
Being lifelong friends... Paul ultimately delivered my Dad's eulogy... Something he had previously retired from doing. He didn't tell me until after the fact. True friends are like that and I'm glad to know Dad had someone like that. I cannot express my gratitude to Paul, on behalf of our family, for doing so. The funniest part of the eulogy... Paul making reference to my Dad's well known habit of sleeping in the buff. I don't know when this started, but apparently... it was as early as college. Paul related a story of an early morning, when he, Dad and their roommate were still sleeping and received an early morning visitor. Dad having the bed closest to the door answered... naked. As Paul recounted, Dad opened the door, had a few words with the visitor, slammed the door and advised his other roommate that the roommate's Mom was there to see him. The things we discover about our parents and their youth. How they are unlike the people we know growing up. I laughed about that memory for weeks after the funeral.
Dad was a joker and a prankster. He loved to tell a good joke and to get people on a prank. He was good at it too. His sense of timing and delivery was impeccable. Making people laugh and smile was one of his joys. I think that's where I get it. Although I'm far more out there than he ever was... the end result is the same. Make people laugh. Make them feel good. We all need more laughter, joy and friendship in our lives. Thank you Dad, for making sure that was the one lesson I learned above all else.
In the interests of full disclosure... I have to be honest. Dad was no Saint. He had a temper. He was a yeller, much like me. He didn't hit and he rarely drank. One or two at most. I never saw him drunk. He hated to lose control of himself, as he was very much a "controller" of all things. Not in a domineering way, but in a way so that there was no situation that he couldn't control or step in if necessary, to protect us or from making mistakes. While that's not horrible, kids and spouses have to learn and grow from the mistakes they make.
There have been many things I've learned abut my Dad in the years since his death. Some funny, some good, and some bad. What's most important is that I've been fortunate to understand him in a different light. A light that still gives me wonderment and makes me believe he was the superhero from my youth. He was flawed certainly, but we all are. We each have dreams, fears and hopes. Mostly his dreams and hopes were that his kids would be happy and successful and that we would always love him.
Dear Dad... In this, as you did many things, you overachieved. WE MISS YOU AND LOVE YOU EVERYDAY.
Cool Ass Big Sis
The Girl Who Be Mom
and the Grandbabies
An interesting item to note, to me anyway, is that my half brother Sean and and my half sister Lissa's Mom, Kathy, passed away on the same day as my Dad. I had not yet met either of them or ever spoken with them when we experienced our loss. I knew nothing of their lives. I also had not met or spoken with my biological father, Pat; whom I knew of, but had not ever been in contact with.
It was 2 years before that would happen. Truth be told, that was due to my grandmother, Sue, on my biological father's side. She found my mother and myself (Goggle! A stalker's tool!) after seeing my Dad's obituary. While that's a story for a different day... it's hard to dismiss that as a cowinkiedink or if I would know any of these amazing people now, had it not been for our losses.
To everything there is a purpose