Minggu, 30 November 2008

A hero’s journey

My father-in-law Gordon passed away on Saturday and although I am qualified neither as a writer, nor by virtue of knowing him for just six years, I am compelled to pass along my thoughts.

Gordon was a man who loved life and loved people. His boundless love of people brought him success in business, but more importantly, in his countless personal relationships. He won the heart of his beautiful bride because of his enthusiasm and endless energy. My sweet wife tells me her mother referred to him as the most honest man she had ever met. I could try to recount a handful of his accomplishments both in life, in his family and still you would not know the man.

Two years ago, following an auto accident that had him in intensive care with a neck brace and halo screwed to his skull, his first words to us were asking how his wife was doing. Through the drugs, the pain and the increasing dementia; his first thoughts were of others. Throughout all of his physical challenges, which were many in his final years, he kept his infectious smile and upbeat attitude. In the midst of his calamities he was always asking about my children and his love and concern was obvious. His sincere love for others defined the man. I have never met a man who rooted for everyone to succeed. If you knew him then you felt you had a place in his heart and that he was pulling for you.

I believe that when Gordon looks back at his life, he had no real regrets. He was as a faithful husband and father as you can imagine. He had more integrity than you could measure. While many of us have interests that compromise our time with our loved ones, Gordon went out of his way to include his children in his waterskiing and fishing and camping adventures. He taught every kid that knew any of his children how to water-ski. He was the dad everyone wished was their dad. He was the man that everyone wishes they could be. In this world were it seems we all make mistakes that hurt people, where everyone seems to have skeletons in the closet, Gordon was a man had the peace of a live honorably lived. We will miss him; but he remains an inspiration.

My favorite movie features a character asking,” is this heaven?” Three years ago, I was sitting on a fishing boat with Gordon. He had his line in the water and the sun on his face. It was my honor at that time to see him in heaven. He tilted his head back and smiled and I knew exactly where Gordon would be when he left this earth. I saw a man who had lived a full and wonderful life and had the peace earned by a lifetime of actions motivated by love. Happy fishing Gordon !

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