Gratitude for Great Father

Four weeks have passed since my father passed away early in the morning of July 3. Right now a candle burns near a family photo and the thank you note he and my mother wrote to me, about the recent father’s day in June we spent together.

To all readers who have lost a parent, I want to say that I sympathize with you, and that I simply didn’t understand the trauma it causes until it happened to me.

Thank you notes mean a lot. The real, paper ones that you send by snail mail. Thank you so much to the friends who sent notes of condolence to me and especially to the many who supported my mother with kind words. Words on paper that you can hold, place on a mantle, and look at every day. Thank you.

You can read the obituaries I wrote online, and the long version is here, from the funeral home.

Maybe later I can pull together some photos and memories of dad. Suffice it to say, for now, that he is my hero. We celebrated his life on his 85th birthday, July 9, the same birthday as his father, my Popo.

Popo wrote a poem for me when I was born, and the handwritten framed page is my most prized possession. The one I’ll grab when the house burns down. In it he writes: “In you, James, flows the past of all your ancestry, and stronger still the past of your parents and their continuous present; as all has been before, so be you.”

Taped to that framed poem is a note, hand written by my dad after his grand 80th birthday celebration (Popo the lawyer had better handwriting than dad the surgeon). Dad ended the letter with this line:

“It has been my privilege to have you as a son and my love for you can only grow as time passes!”

Thank you, Dad, thank you, Popo, for writing these things for me. I am still here, and you are with me.

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