Tuesday, September 11, 2007


If you want funny, ridiculous, goofy self-deprecating me... come back tomorrow. Or perhaps the next day.

I said I would try not to post about my dad. It turns out I am incapable of posting about anything else. I am sorry. For now, this is how it must be.

Below, see the post I wrote for my father's blog. It is titled so and ends so because the word "thusly" - though probably not officially sanctioned by the OED - or any other authority on the English language - was a favorite of my dad's. He used it at every opportunity, and what it means, basically, is "this is how it's done."

I post this entry here there is a chance that my mother's family will see it - and because they have not really been reading my dad's blog because they are just a little too emotional to read all the my step-mother has to say. Oh, and if 30 year old photos of my parents blow my cover, so what. I am not a scavenger hunt, and I only have 9 readers anyway. And most of them live west of the Mississippi and don't care.


Dear Family and Friends,

I add to 'cita’s post a word of thanks to all of you who have offered support to my brother, sister and I during this past week. I wrote once on this blog that our family is an embarrassment of riches. I mean that now, more than ever.

Having said this much, I want to answer all of you who have asked how Buzz, Chiara, and I are doing.

In short, we are doing just fine.

By “fine”, I don’t mean fine with it, or fine and dandy, or fine, have it your way.

The sort of fine I mean is quite different: fine as in of rare or remarkable quality. Fine as in fine china.

How so?

It is what we are made of, not what we are, that I refer to. Through no effort or accomplishment of our own, we are indeed rare. Our father is an honorable man, one who supported us, gave us a home and family, -- and loved us. And this is all before he was a Boy Scout leader, a brave in Indian Princesses, a running coach, a sailing teacher, a career counselor, a financial planner (and too often, rescuer) and (bless his heart… what a pain I am… relationship advisor) and more than all of these, a friend. My whole life, my dad has been my most trusted and loyal and devoted friend. My siblings and I have been honored with our dad’s love, guidance, and friendship our whole lives. Being able to say so makes me rare indeed.

We are even more honored because he has opened his heart and home to Mamacita – and has offered the same unconditional love and support and friendship to two new sisters. I have never been so proud of my Dad as I was the day he chose to love again – and our family grew to include Mamacita, Kendra, and Jane. It is for this reason that I understand what he meant when he told us they had been short-changed. So many people I know never had a good father for one day of their lives – and Buzz, Chiara, and I have had one for the entirety of ours. Protracted self-pity, in a case such as ours, would be inexcusable.

Even so, our hearts break. Of course we shed tears. But we are governed by our faith that the injustice of so short a life will be assuaged, in part, by our belief that instead of seeing his grandson Liam two or three times in a year, Dad will see him every moment of every day – and appreciate even more the wonderful mom that Leta is from the moment she wakes until the moment she sleeps. Dad can be with Mamacita at any and every moment – and by her side when her loss is most difficult. If he wants to see me teaching grammar to electricians local union 3 – he’ll be able to – though I hope he has more interesting things to do – perhaps watching my brother design the next U2 video - or better yet, watching my brother be the kind of father my dad taught him by example.

The injustice will again be assuaged when he sees again his family and friends who have gone before him. Vince Barkis, a man we loved so well we called him Uncle – will be most eager to see Dad. Maw Maw and Paw Paw, who instilled much of Dad’s stellar character and sweetness of spirit, are watching and waiting to welcome their eldest son home. Mamacita’s parents, too, are I am sure most anxious to welcome him.

But most of all, our mother is waiting.

I am sure she will let him know that That Guy I dated in high school was not so dangerous as he supposed. I am sure she has as thing or two to say about how long it took him to build the lake house (too long!), but most of all, she will give him a proper scolding for taking so long to snap out of it and marry Mamacita... but I leave that happy chat to them. I am sure they will be heartily glad to see each other.

When I pulled out of the driveway on August 24th and said goodbye to my family, I cried – as I have done every time I have said goodbye to them before a separation of more than a week - since I was two years old. I did so partly because I inherited a streak of sublime sentimentality from my mom, but also because from the time we were children, I knew what I valued: my family. I knew it because my Dad taught us that nothing matters in life - not money, nor success, nor acclaim - so much as loving the people around us – and how precious our time together is.

It is for this reason that Buzz, Chiara and I will see him and speak to him in the weeks to come, even while his choice to forgo further treatment – and his wish to live out his days in his own home, with his darling 'cita - are honored. What visits we do make will be brief and full of joy – a celebration of his life and the unparalleled legacy of love he has built, day by day, hour by hour, just by being his astounding self. There will be no tears, only congratulations to him on a life well lived, and our promise to strive to be worthy of his example. We are forever in his debt.

As our Dad taught us how to live – full of love and compassion, he is now teaching us how to die. Dad is nothing if not forthright, honest, and true, and I know if I asked him to talk about what is happening, and how he wants to go about it, he would answer me. And this is what he'd say: “Nini, don't worry. I'll sit out on my deck, and look at my lake with my wife. Thusly.”

This is his way, and it's a fine one.


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