Sept 6th, 2009 - Dad's First Anniversary
- Last updated on September 3, 2009 at 4:42 am
- 6 comments
This is the letter I wrote to my dad as his eulogy last year.
Just thought I drop you a line or two, let you know I’m thinking of you. Everyone says hello and they miss you. Oh, Brian had this great joke earlier, it was pretty funny. You’d love it, but of course I can’t remember how it goes. I’ll ask Brian to “try to re-tell” it later. Sorry if we were late today, you know Mom and those Boland genes of hers. Laura’s well; she’s a little exhausted from listening to Brian’s joke and getting Mom out of the house. She had just gotten Mom out the door when Miss Pamela ran back upstairs because she hated her outfit … and changed … again. But that’s ok, since she clearly got that trait from Kitty. You know, when I think about it, we really should have thanked you more for putting up with us. The lateness, the bad jokes, the many wardrobe changes – all of it (usually in the same hour) – so here goes.
Thanks for being such a creative genius. Looking back through the years, I’m amazed by just how much imagination went into everything you touched. No one had the kind of help we did when it came to science fairs, projects, or even Halloween costumes. When Laura told you at the last minute that she wanted to be a box of Cheerios for Halloween in the sixth grade, you didn’t bat an eye (you did however yell, scream, and utter a few choice words throughout construction that night). Her costume rocked – and those judges must have taken bribes from Kaitlin Scagliola’s parents. That’s the only explanation for her winning. You made an assortment of science and social studies projects – everything from an Iroquois longhouse, to the desert in a cardboard box, to a gross-smelling model of a cell (made of caulking gel, half a golf ball, & Play-Doh). For my fourth grade science fair recycling project, it was you who came up with the idea to make tiny aluminum cans from cut-up straws wrapped in foil. Bobbi-Anne and I may have won first place that day, but the medal was really yours.
Thank you for being a nit-picking, pain in the butt, stickler for detail. It has taught us to always look for things that we can improve, and to take pride in our work when we can’t find a thing to fix. You never let us take the easy way out of school work, no matter how annoying we thought you were being. You also taught us that no matter how tempting it is to ignore, the right way or the right thing to do is always the choice we should make. You set such an example for us to never let someone sway us from what we know is right, even at great personal cost. You never told people what they wanted to hear just to please them – even when it would have made your life and job easier. Your integrity was your hallmark and I have always admired that in you.
Thank you for being a history nut. Whether it was talking to you about your world travels in the Air Force or just Pamela asking you if all your medals came from the Civil War (hey, at least you can say your five year old even KNEW what the Civil War was!). You were always a deep well of knowledge, and any opportunity to further teach us was always taken – vacations in D.C., Ireland, and Boston opened us to so much history firsthand. And when you could, you went above and beyond, helping Pamela and me to go to Europe in high school. Of course, the downside to your passion for history combined with your nit-picking ways was that we could never watch a war movie in our house all the way through. You constantly stopped and critiqued the movie, saying things like, “see this medal here? Well that wasn’t created until 1978, so how do these guys think that the sergeant could have been awarded it in 1962? I mean, come on – it’s all wrong.” Two of my personal favorites of yours were “that’s not how you salute! It’s THIS way, not that! Why can’t they get that right??” and “when are those TV bozos going to realize that is NOT the sound a beeper makes when it goes off? Enough already!”
Thanks for giving the paparazzi a run for their money. I think everyone would agree that we are very lucky to have probably thousands of pictures documenting so many wonderful memories. And I’m happy to report that your kids have all picked up that habit in one way or another – just ask our friends.
Thank you for being our own personal MacGyver and techie. I may not be able to fashion a Barbie-sized hanger & dry-cleaning bag from some wire and a baby bottle insert, but I can program a VCR and set-up my home audio stuff.
I hope you rest easy and know that we are going to be ok – maybe not tomorrow or next week, but slowly we will find our way towards a new “ok” without you. You should be so proud: you and mom have done an incredible job with us and you do not need to worry.
A friend recently told me something that plays in my head everyday, quietly soothing me. In a family, everyone is either a nut or a bolt, and you, sir, are definitely a bolt. You have put the rest of the bolts in place, tightening them enough so we are strong, steady, and stable. Dad, you have built such a sturdy foundation; please know that we will be ok. We were blessed to have you for the time we did. I wish it were longer, but I wouldn’t trade our time together for anything.
Please know that where we go, so do you. You will always be with us, sharing in all that is yet to come. You will be there, cheering Pamela on as she graduates high school next June. You will be there, guiding Brian as he makes his way in the world and helping him to become the man you always hoped he would/could be. You will be with mom, helping her discover just how amazing and resilient she is as she moves forward, making new memories with us, while enjoying the old. And you will certainly be there as Laura and I one day begin our own families.
You are anywhere and everywhere we are. Your memory is everywhere in everything, and while our hearts break now because of that, it will only help heal and strengthen them in time. It has been an honor to be your daughter, through the best times as well as the challenging times when you were as stubborn as a mule, and it is an honor to read you this letter today.
Thank you, Dad. You came, you taught, you loved – and we are forever changed by the blessing of knowing you. There are thousands of things I want to say, but we’ll talk/catch-up later. For now, I love you. We all love you and we all miss you but we take comfort knowing the pain is gone and you have gone ahead to a wonderful place. All that’s left to debate is just exactly where you, Kitty, Denis, Nellie, Jeremiah, Jack, and Patrick have gone to hear us today. I hope it’s just grand – where the pints are always filled and frosty, the craic is great, where the session never ends, and neither does the laughter. So enjoy the amazing company you’re in, raise your glass for us down here, and, UP CORK!