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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A yardstick for life

Today would have been my Father's 86th birthday.  He died last Wednesday morning after a month long illness. His generation, described by Tom Brokaw as the "Greatest Generation", is rapidly leaving us.  You see it when you visit the World War II memorial in DC.  Old men being pushed in wheelchairs or walking with walkers and canes.  The generation that grew up struggling in the Depression and going off to war when they came out of school had to mature and face adversity that few of us Baby Boomers ever knew.  They learn responsibility and hard work early in their lives and it defined them the rest of their lives.

My Father was the oldest of eight children in a family that didn't have a lot growing up.  For him working hard, raising a family and maybe being lucky enough to someday buy a house defined a successful person.  He never could understand how his oldest son, yours truly, could say that he wanted to only work at something "meaningful."  My coming home from college with a beard and long hair only caused him to shake his head at this "new" generation.  His Christmas gift for me that year was an electric razor!

Like most boys I foolishly measured myself by the wrong yardstick with my Father. I shouldn't have measured myself by becoming taller, stronger or accomplishing things he hadn't accomplished.  As I have grown older I realize that the yardstick I should have measured myself by was his wisdom, his common sense and his sociability. That's the yardstick I will use the rest of my life.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

your father was a giant of a man amd so proud of his sons and their families; I miss him so much but I also know he has a perfect body with no defects in heaven...have a good day son...love you and your family...

Anonymous said...

He truly was a giant of a man. Isn't it odd how we age ourselves and begin to realize just how "smart" our parents were. It makes me smile to know that he is now watching over us along side his brothers. A father to me when mine was taken early...I will always be grateful for that. May his memories forever live in our hearts. Love you Uncle Chuck.

Brent The Brewer said...

This is a very nice tribute to your father Duane. Thanks for sharing it with us. I'm sorry for you and your family's loss.

-Brent

Anonymous said...

That really sucks. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

Unfortunately, I can relate all to well to this post. One of the things that amazed me when I dealt with this (after I got over the extreme sorrow) is how expensive it is to die. Funeral home arrangements are outrageously expensive, and you have to deal with getting them paid when you're in a terrible frame of mind. I'm really surprised that there's not more outrage at the high cost of one's final expenses. I hear lots about health care costs, but almost nothing about burial costs. And I can't imagine that most people can afford to pay cash this, so I'm sure what happens in that situation.

Anyway, sorry for getting sidetracked. Again, my sincere condolences.

hoco connect said...

Couldn't agree more with your comments on burial costs. Seems like funeral directors know that there is usually insurance money available so that they feel entitled to charge thousands of dollars when people don't have to write a check themselves. They usually just have the insurance check paid to them and return the unused portion to the family. That is why I am having my body donated to the Medical Board and they cremate the body at no cost after they use it. No funeral or viewing or funeral director.