On Anniversaries

November 22, 2009 at 11:29 am (People) (, , )


Thursday was the anniversary of my dad’s death. Last year, I wrote a post about it a few weeks after he died and always intended to write more, and though I’m not quite sure I’m ready, I don’t feel I can really let the anniversary go by without marking it.

So, on anniversaries. Taking time to do something special or to memorialize a person in some way seems important, but at the same time, it’s not as if I don’t think about him every day. What did happen was that as the day approached I started remembering everything that was going on last year and feeling a lot of anxiety – just remembering the events brought those emotions forward to the present. I think about how difficult his life was in the last few years, when he his body was working against him and he was struggling to find meaning in his life. I marvel at how strong my mom is. I also found it very difficult to talk about with people, but I miss him.

I guess that’s all I really have to say about it right now. The photo here is of my dad as a baby, with his parents, likely taken where they lived in Detroit, Michigan. This photo was probably taken around 1944. His parents were German immigrants who ran a grocery store. They both died before I was born. He had six older brothers and sisters, the youngest of which was 13 years older than him, and many of them have passed away.

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In honor of my Dad, two poems.

January 8, 2009 at 2:00 pm (Announcements) (, , , , , , )

In honor of my dad‘s birthday today, two poems that he loved.

Crossing the Bar • Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

High Flight • John Gillespie Magee, Jr

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Love to you, Dad, wherever you are.

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My Dad, Vietnam, and Veterans

November 28, 2008 at 8:44 pm (Thoughts) (, , , , )


This is a photo of my dad. His name is John. This photo was taken when my parents visited me in California last December.

My dad died on November 19. He was 66 years old.

My dad died unexpectedly, from complications related to pneumonia. He had been in the hospital for about a month.

We have a small family, and we decided not have a formal funeral. But, I want to tell the story of his life, and the story of his death, as a way of processing and dealing with it. Our culture has a way of denying death, and we often don’t talk openly with friends and acquaintances about what is happening with us or our families or our lives. I’ve always been a very open person, and I want to start with a story about my dad and his service in Vietnam.

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