my father's earthly remains were donated to science so there was no casket, no grave site, no tombstone, no memorial service, and I found out today that he had no obituary, there was no formal acknowledgment of his passing.
had there been a service, this is what I was prepared to say.
How can we begin to measure the worth of a man's life?
Or should we even try?
But we are curious Americans, fallible humans, and as such we find it almost impossible not to measure. We could measure by wealth or fame, by tragedies overcome, or deeds accomplished, and by most of these yardsticks my father would come up woefully short of extraordinary. But to me he was an extraordinary man. He was my father, my Dad, and in many ways he was my hero.
If a man's worth could be measured by what he has taught, then, my father was extraordinary.
He taught me that to love the simple things in life.
He taught me how to throw and catch a ball. And by example how to enjoy throwing and catching whether you win, or lose, and even when you are just practicing.
He taught me how to fish, and he showed me that the biggest catch of the day was the quite between the casts, the unsung harmony between the fisherman and the sea, and the unspoken love between a boy and his Dad.
He taught me to be creative, and showed me that differences by their very nature are special, and that, no matter how others saw things, it was OK, and even desirable if I saw things a little differently.
If my Dad could be measured by the richness of his children's memories, then he was extraordinary.
I remember the World's Fair, and Cape Cod and DC.
I remember long drives in the new England autumn in search of apple cider, and pumpkins and gourds.
I remember birthdays in New York city, hot dogs from a hot dog cart, and pizza by the slice.
I remember apples the size of grapefruit and chocolate coins covered with gold foil, and puzzles and things piled high in our Christmas stockings.
I remember my Dad attending every baseball game that I played…almost. And those he couldn't attend, he asked me to recall every detail.
I remember being woken at five in the morning to drive to the city and buy a fish at Fulton's Fish Market. I didn't think that I would ever forgive him for that. And now it is a memory I'll never forget.
If a man could be measured by his sacrifices for his country, or the sacrifices for his vocation, or his sacrifices for his children, then my Dad was extraordinary.
If a man could be measured by the gratitude of his son, or the respect of his daughter, or the love of his wife, then my Dad was extraordinary.
Not by fame or by wealth, not by deeds or by ordeals, but by any measure that really mattered to his family, my Dad was extraordinary.
I'll miss you Dad … in one extraordinary way, … I'll miss you.