Saturday, May 17, 2008


I thought the big news on the personal front this month was going to be the swapout of the old car for the new one, but the truth is much sadder than that. Last Monday the 5th, I got a call from my mother informing me of my father's passing.

The week that followed was pretty tough, as I'm sure anyone who's gone through it can attest. Like many of my gender I am not comfortable with big displays of emotion, and this sort of thing is just a minefield of grief and gratitude and compassion and concern, and boy, did I step on all of them.

I miss my father. I worry about my mother. I am grateful to my kind and caring wife and to all of my friends and family who've taken the time to console and commiserate. I grieve that my child will only know my father as an abstraction. I am soothed by the knowledge that his last moments were spent outside the house he had proudly bought and maintained with his own two hands for 39 years, on a warm spring evening, putting pebbles in the bottom of a window box into which he was about to plant a bunch of four o'clocks.

At the end of the day, though, there's no silver lining to it; no overarching life lesson to be gleaned; no redemption after having come out the other side. It's just sadness, and loss, and the unfailing presence of a hole in your soul that cannot ever be repaired.

Well...maybe there are a few things. Maybe there's some perspective to be gained, about appreciating life and the people in it (some of them, anyway). Or maybe there's a newfound appreciation for legacy and family. And the gaining of empathy. Or at the very least, you never have to dread that the next phone call from home will be the one that bears that particular Bad News.

But that is cold comfort, each thought more bitter than the last, and without even an imagined hint of sweet. The only thing I can reasonably do is simply what my father would have wanted me to do: live on fearlessly, raise my family lovingly, and teach my children to be as hard working, honest, and honorable as he wanted me to be.

So that's what I will do.

That, and I will plant those four o'clocks, opening up to face the sun on golden summer afternoons, in his memory.


At Sat May 17, 03:00:00 AM EDT, Blogger Southview said...

Ross... I am sorry for your loss. In time, sorrow will give way to pleasant memories.

At Sat May 17, 08:31:00 PM EDT, Blogger greg said...

Keeping you and yours in my thoughts.

At Sun May 18, 07:01:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ross, you've just been through one of the hardest things to face in life. Please know my thoughts are with you and your family.


At Mon May 19, 11:22:00 AM EDT, Blogger dan bosley said...

My deepest condolences. I am sorry for your loss. As Jack said, the sorrow will quiet down after a while and as long as you hold his memory near and dear, he will always be with you. Remember the good times and hold those memories close to your heart.

At Mon May 19, 02:48:00 PM EDT, Blogger Amy said...

Ross - I'm sorry for your loss.

At Thu Sep 25, 01:31:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A. Titelbaum said...

Your father was a great man. I always enjoyed talking with him. I remember the day he drove us to New Hampshire for a scouting event. It was back in 78. The evening that your mother hosted his birthday party where I stopped by uninvited and left him a gift. Stopping him at Hannaford to see how he was doing. He always talked about his children were doing.

He will be missed


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