1917 - 2015
May the Souls of All the Faithful Departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
We laid my 98 year old Dad to rest last week. My Dad passed in the best way possible. Very early in the morning he just quietly slipped away in peaceful silence.
Mourning is such a private thing to each person. Even my seven brothers and sisters will mourn in a different way than I will, even though we all knew him and loved him and lived with him. We are all united in our joy that he lived a faithful, wonderful life and now the penances of older age have given way to release. But we all remember him in stages of his life. I am the youngest of the eight and my sister is the oldest. She will definitely remember different events than I will that will make her cry in gratitude for the father he was. We shared some of those things together at the funeral.
These are my own thoughts and memories of his wonderful life. Forgive me if they are jumbled at times. There are just so many.
My Dad was all of five feet tall. This never seemed to bother him, ever. He was a body builder, a skier, an acrobat (who would do handstands on bridge rails to scare my poor Mom), and a violinist.
He was the best storyteller I have ever met, and he passed that gift on to my brother Charlie. He always had boats and taught us all to water ski. He loved cars. When he could afford it, he bought a red and black Camero with a horn that played La Cucaracha.
He made the same weekday breakfast all his life - Oatmeal with honey and cream. He made buckwheat pancakes on Saturdays and let me help him.
He loved surprising people. One day he brought my sister and I on a mystery trip that ended up at a horse farm and he announced that we would learn to ride hunter. This was an absolute dream of mine and he just made it come true one day out of the blue....rather like a live Santa Claus. He would take us to lunch at very beautiful places and we would all get dressed up.
He introduced me to the glory of Beethoven and showed me how to listen to his music - speakers full blast. I shared the 9th symphony with him many a time and we conducted it together. He loved Beethoven because he always said that Beethoven captured the whole of life: the grand right down to the sweet and gentle. He was the reason I loved classical music. He was the reason I loved to read as well. We had many and varied books all over the house.
He NEVER gave up on the Church he loved, though in the crazy days of the 60's, 70's and 80's the Church sometimes seemed to give up on him. He always stuck with the Church and her teachings. And he always was ready to remind priests and Bishops of those teachings. He always joked that he probably had a red file down at the Chancery office and was whispered of as "the trouble maker". He said his daily rosary and read scripture constantly. He read St. Thomas, Gilson, Maritain, Ropps. These were all household names for us.
He made me love Philosophy and Theology. He paid for us to go to an upstart little school called Thomas Aquinas College that had about 100 students in all. It was an amazing, grace filled, miraculous place and I cannot thank him enough for finding it and being brave enough to send us there.
He taught my sons how to play chess and cribbage. He gave them each a hammer in their very own color which he hung up in his shop in the garage. He made the most incredible furniture and all his children got many of his creations. He gave many books to my husband who still today finds notes in the margins that my Dad scrawled there which give insight into his mind and his thoughts of that time.
When he got older, he always got a kick out of Active Child who could do handstands. Every time we visited him he would give him pointers on staying up longer.
He loved chocolate, maple walnut ice cream, and Veal Marsala. He hated raisins.
He was a surgical physician but always made friends with the nurses and was never a diva! He did many cases for free that we only learned of later.
He was an amazing man. He was only five feet tall, but I will tell you he filled every ounce of his life with "distance run" and I like to think of him now meeting his great friends: St. Augustine, St. Thomas, St. John Chrysostom. It sends chills up and down my spine to think that he might actually be talking to them right now in eternity. And on that note I say AMEN.