Thursday, February 4, 2010

In Loving Memory Of My Father

My father passed away three years ago today. He was stricken with cancer for the second time, and although he had beat the first round, a different form of cancer returned 12 years later and claimed him. He left us very quickly and very unexpectedly. No one, least of all him, expected that this merciless illness would return after so many years - and with such a vengeance. Within six weeks of being diagnosed, my father lost the battle. And he was gone. He became so sick, so quickly that we didn’t even have time to say our goodbyes.

When the time came to write something special about him for the funeral, my brother contacted me and asked me to do it. He said that since I was the writer of the family, I was the ideal choice for this important task. I’d never realized that my family thought I was good with words, so I was extremely flattered by his request – and honoured. That day, only a few hours after my father had passed away, and in the midst of grief, I sat down and wrote a eulogy for him on behalf of my family. I’d like to share it with all of you today on the 3rd anniversary of his passing. I’ve also included some family photos.

MY FATHER

What purpose does each of us serve in our lifetime and how do we measure its significance? Must we be world-renowned inventors of something extraordinary for our existence to be deemed worthwhile? How is a man’s success truly measured?

My father did not live in a big fancy house. He lived in a happy loving home.


(My parents when they were a young couple)

He did not dine in upscale trendy restaurants, but rather came home to dinner with his family every night.

He did not globe-trot around the world, hob-knobbing with the rich and famous. Instead, he was a loyal and faithful husband and a dedicated father.

My father had no use for designer clothing or expensive cars because he did not believe in the value of things.

He chose instead, to invest in family, to invest in people. He did not build an empire of money. He built an empire of love, never confusing what he owned with what he was worth.


(Our family (yup, that's me on the left))

My father did not make headlines around the world. He made headlines in our world.

He was here to guide and to teach us. He taught us kindness and compassion. A gentle and wise soul sent to help offset the evil in this world.

He made his way with integrity, passing on the most valuable tools in this life, so that we could in turn pass them on to those arriving after us. In essence, he created a human chain of kindness that would continue through the generations and spread through all who knew him.

One night, many years ago, looking-in on his granddaughters sleeping snugly in their beds, he turned and said “Do you see these two little girls sleeping like angels in their beds? This is what’s important. Remember that. Nothing else in life even comes close.”

He taught us that children and family, love and forgiveness are the most important sources of peace and happiness.


(My father with me and my two brothers)

His creed was simple and taught the value of relationships and commitment:

“Love each other” he said. “Don’t ever place your loved ones at the bottom of your priority list. All the money in the world, all the careers you will ever build can never hold as much value as the memories you will build with your loved ones. Life is short, sometimes shorter than we plan for, and you will one day regret not having hugged your children more, or taken a walk holding hands with your partner, or laughed with your loved ones. Love each other.”

My father was the definition of a good man and the most successful I have yet known. He lived a more fulfilled life than anyone could dare hope for.

Father...

Thank you for showing us the road to integrity – not by what you said but by what you did. You have shown us all, by example, what it means to be a decent, loving human being.

Thank you for teaching us patience and understanding.

And most of all, thank you for loving us…

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, your job is done and it’s now time to go home.

Spread the wings of your soul and rise to the spirit world where you belong.

You have embraced us your whole life. It is now time for God to embrace you.

Amen

This post is in loving memory of my father who is always on my mind and forever in my heart. I hope that wherever he is, he is happy, and finally at peace.


(My father and his two granddaughters (my girls when they were younger))

6 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, Martha...you have me in tears. What a lovely and moving tribute to a very fine man! I'm so sorry you lost your Dad---I know you must miss him terribly and must think about him every single day. But you are so fortunate to have loved and to have been loved by such a special person and to have a lifetime of memories of that love. As you said so eloquently, you are truly blessed to have been a part of your Dad's "empire of love."

    Thank you for this beautiful post.

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  2. P.S. Those pictures are wonderful!

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  3. What a wonderful thing to do for you Dad. You must miss him so much but what amazing memories you have of him.
    I'm so grateful I still have my parents, and thank you for making me even more grateful today!

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  4. Beth, thank you for your nice comments. I will always miss my father; he was such a wonderful man. But the good thing is that I have such great memories with him, and so do his two granddaughters. At least he lived long enough to meet them both, and to spend a lot of time with them.

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    Hi pale gardener, it's so nice to see you here. Yup, we should cherish the good people in our lives while we still have them. Sometimes we take it for granted, not realizing that they can leave us at any time.

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  5. Martha .. I missed this post some how .. it was a beautiful tribute to your father and it would have been a wonderful moment for anyone to have gotten to know him even just a little bit.
    You wrote a wonderful eulogy for him and I just know he knows about it : )
    I loved seeing these pictures .. they helped express what a wonderful man he was.
    I envy your relationship with him .. but I am also happy you have so many good memories : )
    This post was a wonderful tribute Martha : )
    Joy

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  6. Hi Joy, I think we write posts like this mostly to let out some of the feelings we keep inside. Yes, I was very fortunate to have had such a great father. Makes you wonder, though, how on earth I could make bad choices in relationships when I had such a great role model!

    Anyhow, had you met him, you would have liked my father very much. He and I were very similar in our habits and in our personalities, so we understood each other and got along wonderfully. I’ll always miss him, but that’s life. We keep moving forward.

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