I had the privilege of being at my dad’s side for the last 2 weeks of his life. My mom and siblings and I were given the priceless gift of being able to be with him as he made his gentle transition. Looking back now, I see that daddy approached his death with the same amazing spirit in which he lived his life. He never lost what made him so quintessentially himself.
In the final weeks and days, Daddy would regularly call us to his bedside with a story, a joke or a memory. He gave us instructions…”don’t forget to remind your mother to play the piano”, or “make sure I have a catholic mass” or “remember to call my old friend Joe”.
He told us how proud he was of each of us, never neglecting to give all credit to our mother. He reflected constantly on the good life he had lived, the good fortune he had to meet our mom, and told anecdotes of his life adventures and his many many loyal friends.
He was steadfast, courageous, and never, even at some of the lowest moments, lost his wit and sharp intellect. His love of music and poetry never ceased, his Irish eyes brightening as we showered him with songs, poems, violin and piano concertos.
One evening after a touching and boisterous celebration of Bill, he leaned over and whispered to me “who wouldn’t want a send-off like this?”
Daddy, thank you for all of your gifts. I love you. See you round.
November 3, 2007