Sunday, June 20, 2010

Remembrance for a father

I don't think I need to say that while my heart aches for me, it breaks for my boys. The magnitude of their loss staggers me. I also don't know if I've ever been more proud of them: their bravery, their open grief, their ability to continue living and enjoying life as their father would have wished. All four participated in a candle ceremony at the memorial service where they each lit their candle from the light of a larger candle symbolizing how their father's light would continue through them. Nicholas, 14, also spoke:

I’m going to start with a story written by Thai’s mother, my grandmother, Susan:

"When Thai was thirteen years old I managed to get enough money together to buy three tickets to Hawaii. We had very few resources so we three, Thai, Jesse and Mom had most of our belongings - a stove, a small tent, our food and other necessities - in a very large backpack. We could not afford, nor did we really want to stay in a hotel. During our short stay on the Islands we decided together to hike a trail on the wet side of Kaui’i. It was a very beautiful trail running along the coastline with the mountains, green and lush, rising up the windward side. We were seeking and eventually found a beautiful waterfall several miles up the coast which splashed into a large pond. The trail ran up and down numerous small hills. I was carrying the large pack, and struggling under its load. Thai and Jesse were walking ahead of me. Suddenly, Thai who was only slightly taller than me appeared at my side. He reached over in his ever so gentle way, my Ferdinand the Bull, and took the backpack off my shoulders. He turned to me and said, “Mom I’ll carry the load now.” And, he did, he always did. When I heard other parents complain about their teenage boys, I could never understand their complaints because my Thai and my Jesse only ever “carried the load.”"

Dad has always carried the load for me. He came to all of my sports games he could, worked 12 hour shifts, helped me in my schoolwork, and taught me almost everything I know about the world, and these are only just the first things that come to mind. But I know that everything he taught me and gave me will give me the strength to carry the load myself.

Every night before my dad tucked me in to bed, he would ask me the same four questions. This nightly routine turned into a ritual which became something I looked forward to every night and something I have dearly missed over the past 2 weeks. I would just like to say them with my dad one last time. “Who do I love?" You love me. "Who’s a good boy?" I am. "Who am I proud of?" You are proud of me. "And who do you love?" I love you dad. I will always love you.

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