~He treated negativity with positivity. When myself or one of my siblings would say anything unkind about another person, his response would be along the lines of: "Oh, but he (or she) always speaks so well of you!" Or..."that is a shame sweetie, because I know she (or he) really likes you!" or... "but he is SO nice to his mother!" What a great example of how to live! Thank you, Dad.
~He worked hard. In high school he took a 3rd part time job (during the depression) to help his sister, Lucile, buy a prom dress. Occasionally he would eat saltines mashed up with milk or water to remind him of the times when that was all there was to eat. He taught himself 3 languages and read the Dictionary regularly to find new words. This would haunt me and my siblings in High School as pronunciation and enunciation were of utmost importance. Thank you, Dad.
~He served our country as a Captain in WWII. I broke his heart when I chose not to take the final step ( a physical that I would have passed) to go to West Point in 1979. He handled the disappointment with incredible grace, allowing me to find my own Path. Thank you, Dad.
~He made sure to thank the people in his life who made a difference. During the last few months of his life, my siblings and I helped him construct many letters of gratitude, call people he needed to speak to, and visit (or be visited by) countless friends who admired him.
~He almost died many times: Severe burns from falling in scalding water as a toddler, malaria (2 times), a quadruple bypass, and a fall from a horse that broke 7 ribs, and...stomach cancer that metastasized...everywhere. I do not remember hearing him complain. When his pain was too intense during his final battle (cancer), he had enough pride to ask for help with his physical pain, AND his emotional pain. What a great example of how to let go. Thank you, Dad.
Happy Birthday, Dad. I love and miss you and strive to live in a way that would make you happy and proud.