The following is a sentimental eulogy, written in an eloquent tone, paying tribute to a father.
My husband and I took my parents to our summer home up in Wisconsin a few years ago. Among other things, we spent a few days outdoors, and took Dad fishing.
It was a very happy time, as it always was, when Dad was one with nature. He derived a lot of pleasure from the simple things in life: basking in the sun’s warmth on a lazy afternoon, listening to a symphony of birds chirping, meticulously tending to his many flowers and vegetables, or submerging in fantasies of escape induced by the calm of open water.
Lives flow with strong undercurrents, much like the open sea; they undulate through well-timed waves, such as the preschool period, adolescence, and the so-called golden years of late life.
Each arriving era brings its special challenges and opportunities, along with its unique stresses and pressures. A person may or may not be equipped to ride the next wave, to manage the requirements -- obvious and hidden -- of his or her latest time of life.
Whenever I had trouble dealing with any turbulence caused by the rough waves of life, I could always count on Dad - my captain - to right the ship if it began to list. I will miss the way he could always put things into perspective for me. If there was something really disturbing me, he would say, "Okay, let's change it!" And change it we did.
He was as calm as the deepest ocean and kindness remained his religion. Although he was not one to attend church regularly, he worshipped at the feet of honesty, honour, loyalty and integrity.
People talk about these values. But Dad lived them. He embraced them. The many awards and accolades that he received during his career for his dedication and hard work, amongst other things, and the respect people had for him are a testimony to this.
He was a man of few words, but he could disarm any tenuous situation and have people laughing with his many one-liners.
Not only did Dad love team sports and was a devoted fan of the Cubs, the Bears and the Bulls, but he was a great team player, himself. He was a person with an emotional and practical stake in any team that he was part of, and the playing conscience of those teams.
Even during the last stages of his battle with leukemia, he soldiered on bravely, as he had done in Korea many years ago, more concerned about the people that he loved than any discomfort that he was feeling.
True to his unselfish temperament, he dug into the depths of his substantial courage to stay around long enough until he was sure that Mom was settled into their new house. A home that they had moved into only a few days ago, so that she could be looked after by her kids.
He also waited for me at the hospital, last Sunday, so that I could kiss him one last time before he died.
Upon learning of his death, I instantly slipped into a space that can be described only as a permeating sadness. Sadness that hangs still, and that surely is shared by all those who knew and loved him.
If there was something that really upset me, and I couldn’t do anything about it, Dad would often say, “Don't burden your mind and soul with something you have no control over. You need to let it go".
Although he will forever be part of my heart and soul, I heed his wise counsel and I say farewell today to a wonderful father, husband, friend and human being.