For a lot of us, this morning was a typical summer Friday morning; sun streaming through the windows as breakfast was served, and plans made to spend time outdoors, enjoying the free time and great weather.
For one family, though, today is a day like no other. It’s a day that unfortunately will be remembered forever, but in a way that few of us, if any, can even fathom.
Today is the funeral of my neighbor, the dear man that I told you about in my last post. I promise that this will be my last post regarding such a tragic situation.
As a virtual onlooker to the tragedy, I don’t have the right to say more, or to have the arrogance to take ownership of these circumstances as my own personal pain or news. Because as much as it hurts me -and it does reduce me to tears at times- I’m not even going to attempt to project my own feelings onto a family that has a monster’s share of their own pain to deal with, both now and in the future to come.
I needed to talk about this one more time, because my last comments resonated with so many people; both those who knew him well, and those who didn’t, but admired him and his example from afar. And because this whole horrible event bothers me, so, so much, as it does so many people. Because he was one of the good ones, & everyone knew it. He and his beautiful wife were building something special in that family.
I decided on impulse to attend his wake last night. I had wavered on whether or not to go, not wanting to impose on a potentially private family moment. I needn’t have worried.
The line to pay respects to him extended outside of the funeral home, through the parking lot, and in a long continued line down the block.
A life well lived.
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and we as a public revere them. Those in our military service are certainly worthy of our praise. Our professional athletes- though it’s often debatable whether they’re truly deserving of the heroic titles often bestowed on them- they, too receive our accolades and our admiration as our “heroes”.
What about the everyday dad? The one who works an honest living, then comes home and gives his all to his wife and children?
Not so much.
You wouldn’t have the opportunity to read about my neighbor in the newspaper, other than a short clip here or there reporting his untimely demise. That’s another reason that I’ve neglected to mention his name. Not only for his family’s privacy sake, but also because the focus should not be on how his life ended, but what it was about while he lived it. There was no mention of how he loved his kids, or that he was the love of his wife’s life. Or that he was simply a good man.
(Now moms, it’s a given that you/we work hard. I won’t even go there. For this post’s sake, I’ll stick to the dads.:)
It’s the everyday dads that are the heroes. The ones that sacrifice, day in and day out, to provide a healthy, loving environment for their kids. It’s the ones that wake up each morning and do their jobs, and save whatever energy is left to love and bond with their family when the work day is done.
These are the dads that coach the Little League games, or show up to watch the softball or lacrosse games. They’re the dads that follow their kids as they wobble unsteadily on bikes down the street. The dads that kiss their wives, show their kids how much they love their mom and what a good marriage can look like, and make time to enjoy those kids when they come home. Even when their work day has left them with little left.
There are those dads. They exist. And if you are one of them, thank you. If you know one, thank him.
I know now that my neighbor was one of them. And I thought so, just from overhearing glimpses of his interaction with the kids in the yard. But I didn’t KNOW him. I know this now to be true from every local friend and neighbor acquaintance that he had, those who raved about him recently:
“He was a one of a kind.”
“He was always smiling..”
“He was so generous and kind.”
“He loved his wife and kids more than anything.”
The line around the corner last night said it all. He was a hero, an everyday hero, who made his mark on the world just by putting his heart into everything he did, and living for the people he loved most: his wife and children.
So today, on a day that I know will be so painful and difficult for his loved ones, I’d like to honor one of our community’s heroes one last time, and to thank him for the reminder of how to lead a life well lived: a life that was fully invested in others.
It’s no denial that his children have lost their father, and it’s unfair. Gut-wrenchingly unfair. But he WAS there at the beginning, and helped, with his wife, to create an atmosphere of love & family in their home. Those children were blessed to have him, & based on the wonderful things I’ve learned about their mother, will continue to feel so loved, supported, and comforted.
In a larger scope, I have to say that I feel thankful to live in a community like ours that surrounds those in pain, encircles them with love, warmth, & support.
May we all live a life that at its end, would deserve the love & admiration that his did. Because he did it RIGHT.Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom