Running With Woodchucks in a Graveyard

Calvary Cemetery, Johnson City, NY
Calvary Cemetery, Johnson City, NY

As I ran through the graveyard, I made up little stories about those folks lying in the ground.  In my mind, they were honorable people who left behind legacies of love, faith and charity.  It was a fun thing to do, in a way, and the soft evening light on the fall foliage made such happy thoughts easy to conjure.  I might have been right or wrong about those departed souls, but my extemporaneous stories about them reminded me of one immutable fact:  A holy life is characterized by intentional compassion. Continue reading “Running With Woodchucks in a Graveyard”

Old Fancy Dresses

dressesI should of been organizing, but instead, I treasured those moments with those old clothes.  I have treasured the times that we had while you wore them.  God willing, I will enjoy many more of those special moments.  The fact is this:  You will live many more years on your own that you will live with me.  I am already missing you dearly. Continue reading “Old Fancy Dresses”

A Day With My Teenager: Picasso, Adams and Turning Greens to Pinks

Alex with AdamsWhether you got anything out of our visit to the art museum is really irrelevant.  The most important thing is that, for just a little while, I had my daughter to myself.  I was yours and you were mine and we talked about big ideas and great things.  I went to bed that night feeling very much at peace. Continue reading “A Day With My Teenager: Picasso, Adams and Turning Greens to Pinks”

My Father Who Wasn’t, Part Four: Epilogue and Requiem Aeternam

IMG_3984_-_Washington_DC_-_Arlington_National_Cemetery
Photo by Andrew Bossi, Under Creative Commons License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/legalcode

This is the final blog post that I am writing about the father who I never knew.  Since the fact of his life and death is so much a part of who I am, I suspect that our strange relationship (if you can call it that) will make an appearance someplace in the future.  For now, though, I have said what needed to be said.

I was not planning on another post about my father and his family, but as I was completing the piece previous to this one, my youngest daughter was visiting the place where my father rests Arlington National Cemetery.  Unbeknownst to me, as I was writing a couple of lines about her visit, my father’s mother was at last slipping away to join her son.  Perhaps my father’s spirit guided his granddaughter through the hallowed grounds of Arlington, even as he helped lead his mother home. Continue reading “My Father Who Wasn’t, Part Four: Epilogue and Requiem Aeternam”

My Father Who Wasn’t, Part Three: There Was So Much That Was Beautiful

snowball
Snowball, about 1975

This is the third in a short series of blog posts about the father I never knew, but for my interactions with his family.  Although they were imperfect, they also had the capacity for great kindness and profound beauty.  If there is anything that I want my girls to understand, it is this:  Each person on Earth has an endless capacity to love and be loved.  We need only be patient and persistent enough to see that side of them. Continue reading “My Father Who Wasn’t, Part Three: There Was So Much That Was Beautiful”

My Father Who Wasn’t, Part Two: My Inheritance in a Trunk and in Dark Places

trunkThis is the second in series of blog posts about my father who I never got to know.  Since he died before I was born, much of my life has been a mystery:  How am I like him?  How am I different?  Some of my childhood was spent visiting with his family, a tragic and misfortune ridden portion of my familial DNA.  I thought to shield my girls from this side of my childhood, but then I reconsidered.  Perhaps knowledge of them will protect my daughters against the mistakes they might otherwise make.  In understanding the mistakes of others, maybe they will see the need to act with compassion for all.  No one is immune from hurtful errors.  But no one is above the receipt of compassion, either. Continue reading “My Father Who Wasn’t, Part Two: My Inheritance in a Trunk and in Dark Places”

My Father Who Wasn’t, Part One: Dearly Departed and Mysteriously Missed

arlingtonThis is the first in a short series of blog posts about my father.  He wasn’t a father in the conventional sense of the term as he died before I was born.  The fact of his life and death has, in part, shaped me into the person that I am.  Thus, through me, he is shaping my daughters even now.  In order for my kids to understand who they are, they must understand what I know about the man whose name we carry.  His legacy is at once an honor, a burden and profoundly confusing for me.  What fatherhood means to me is greatly affected by his absence. Continue reading “My Father Who Wasn’t, Part One: Dearly Departed and Mysteriously Missed”