A Tribute to My Dad | Main | 811

March 7, 2008

Time Stands Still

Time has stood still for the past two days. It feels like I have been lifted out of the normal stream of time and slammed into another dimension, disconnected from the "real" world. The visitations for my Dad were yesterday, and the funeral was today. I was amazed and gratified that family and friends from all over the East and as far away as Alabama made the trip to honor their uncle / brother-in-law / pop / friend.

I reconnected with some cousins I had not seen in 50 years, and others I had only seen once or twice in that time frame. My best friend / college roommate / best man / godfather of my son traveled from New York and surprised me at the church this morning. The staff from Dad's assisted living community turned out en masse to honor the man they had grown to love. My daughter-in-law's father drove in. Flowers were beautiful, and it was a tender tender time. It was close to overwhelming.

I'm very grateful that my sister and I honored our parents several times in recent years (their 50th anniversary, and my Dad's 80th and 85th birthdays.) For his 85th, we put together a large powerpoint slide show with photos going back to the early 1920s. For his visitation hours at the funeral home, we updated the slide show, adding about 40 new pictures. It provided a powerful way for folks to connect with his life history and with each other, since many of them and their loved ones were in the photos too.

We've gotten pretty good at gathering for funerals and weddings. I hope that the years to come will provide many more gatherings for just everyday hanging out. Turns out I have a substantial number of cousins, nieces, and nephews in New England, so my move should facilitate that.

My father loved golf - he loved the physical activity, and it was one of his most beloved ways to engage life. So it was only fitting that I concluded my eulogy by reading a poem that my mother-in-law, Helen Burton-Miskell, wrote for his 85th birthday. He liked it then, and it seemed a fitting way to mark the end of his life.

"Ode to Golf"
by Helen Burton-Miskell

What better way
To start the day
Than tap the ball
Into the cup
Just as the sun
Is coming up;

Or tee it off
Into the air
And watch it fall
This side of there,
But close enough
To make me smile;

Or lift it up
With just the iron
To put it down
Upon the green,
So close it rolls
Into the hole;

Or walk upon
The healthy green
And watch it spring,
Keep springing back,
Despite the traffic
On the scene.

What joy, what joy
To take a swing
And feel that I
As well can fly,
Watching the ball
Upon the wing

Till out of sight
Beyond the woods,
Where it alights.
I search and find.
Feeling as young
As any boy,

Whose surging blood
By nature sings,
I am as near
To heaven here
As anyone
In love with life.

What better way
To start the day.

Posted by hgroteva at March 7, 2008 6:57 PM | In Memory / In Honor | Life