Friday, March 7, 2008


We lost one of our own this week. Without going into to much detail, we lost a good man this week. A man with faults just like the rest of us, a man who did what he could to provide for his family. He did not discover any great cure, or a new planet or invent a new machine to make him millions, he was just a man. A man who cared for his son, a man who was a provider for his wife for more than fifty years, he was just a man. A man who raised kids, who put some of those kids through college, who are now, doctors, who might discover the cure, he was just a man. A man who served his country, his community, his family, he was just a man. Tread lightly Marine and thank you for just being a man.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


(March 6, NYC) Everyone probably feels the same level of emotion when they think of their Dad. We can all recall images from our past, summon up glimpses of our youth, and recollect the countless gestures of kindness, patience and plain old love. Dad died the other day.

He was sent off yesterday with a Mass in the church were so much of his life, and ours, was the site of milestones. Baptisms, Communions, Confirmations; all the rituals of Roman Catholicism that were ours by birth. The pews in that fine old house of worship had provided refuge and respite for our family, friends and neighbors for almost a century.

It is a bit odd to consider that this proud, quiet man lived his 76 years within a radius of under 10 miles. Aside from his years in the Marine Corps, the streets he played on as a child were the very same as those he walked just weeks before his death.

Death often comes like a thief in the night; it did not for him. His was a death that was a bit protracted, not measured in agonizing months but rather as days that elongated and warped, trudged into weeks that felt like years. It would be easy to read too much into his last weeks; such a hospital scenario lends itself far too readily to hyperbole. There was a dramatic component to it all that went beyond the clinical realities that kept his trapped in a body that was failing. Could he hear? Did he experience pain? Was he aware that we were there?

Each of us began the trip home from a far flung location. We had all scattered when we came of age for reasons and circumstances partially chosen, and somewhat seemingly pre-ordained. Miles and years evolve into distance, distance that is measurable and infinite at the same time. He began his final journey very near where it had all begun. That was not a bad thing. There is something to be said for that kind of consistency, that level of comfortability and acceptance of self and life.

There were times in the past when we thought they should move, Mom and Dad could not still be there? Yet, they remained while that neighborhood rode the varied waves of change, good and bad, up and down. They were witness to generations born, grown and moved; where they, and they alone, had outlived lived all our original neighbors. It was from this place our lives were shaped and we are as much a part of it as was he.

That place remains and will for a longer time than we can imagine now. It will change for good and bad and see the comings and goings of more generations. But, for the first time in nearly 80 years it will forever be altered, not noticeably, not dramatically. His absence will change the place and all those who live there now and those who will come to live there never knowing who he was.

At least we, all of us, knew him and for that, we have been blessed beyond measure.

Be well, Dad.

Walk gently home to see those you have missed for so long. They have been waiting.