As I sit here writing a silence falls upon me and I feel a joy that only the deepest of silences can bring.
The day before my Dad travelled on with the angels I had the joy to experience that same silence with him. His hospital room, often filled with family and friends, doctors and nurses was empty for a time. I sat near his bed determined to attend to any small need, offer any gesture of love. Dad told me that he could not speak, that he needed to rest. I told him that we need not talk. that I simply wanted to to feel his nearness, to feel him close. He smiled as much as was possible in his thanks.
I do not know how long the silence lasted but I am forever grateful for that gift. My eyes closed in meditation to absorb that profound peace. The throbbing pain in my heart fell silent and a presence of love enveloped the room. It was such a deep moment of silence that I felt the angels. I prayed for them to mend him but it seems they were nearing to gather him close, to cradle his spirit and sooth his soul. In that moment I knew that they loved him as I always have. That knowing of one soul for another.
We are part of each others lives for either moments, intervals or lifetimes. Some of you have known my Dad longer, others shorter – some more intimately, some less – but he has touched all of us in some way and contributed to our journeys. We all take a part of him with us in our continued adventure and It would make Dad proud and happy that we have gathered to honour him in that.
Friedensreiche Hundertwasser who was an Austrian painter, writer and architect wrote: If we do not honour our past we lose our future, if we destroy our roots we cannot grow.
I believe my Dad lived by this intimately. He was born, grew up, lived and worked in Providence his entire life. He passed away not far from where he was born. He loved living here. He loved the memories, the stories and the people who made this city their home. He loved the knowing of this city and the greetings of his neighbors. He loved the continuity and the friendships – the buildings, the trees and the roads. He loved the building built by his family with the name EMERS written so boldly above it.
My favourite memories of my Dad were running and walking together. We ran because it helped with the playing of tennis, one of his lifes great loves. He would play tennis with me, always telling me to keep my eye on the ball, to keep my attention focused and directed, a lesson which has helped me throughout my life. He would occasionally join my friend Gini and I on our daily walk to our school and his work. It was a good few miles walk and we all loved it. In the walking we discovered the small stories of the streets and the singing of the birds. There was peace in the morning and it was silent. After I left he continued walking and I would join him on the odd visit from the faraway place where I now live. I was, and still am so proud of my Father that even in his 80s he continued both to work and to walk to work.
He loved his work and thoroughly enjoyed all the people he helped and their participation in his life. He was proud of all of his children and their small victories. He was proud of his large extended family and all the continued additions. He was proud of my mom and he was proud of Jill. His great quality was that he was proud of everyone who entered the artwork of his life. He was proud of his own achievements like a child who understands that which previously was a mystery. He put people before things and family and friends before achievements. He was a man who followed his heart and his heart lives on in all of us. I believe that the Universe is a tapestry of gathered love and woven stories – its magical beauty flowing in our hearts. As each of us journeys towards that which we call death, we can heed or ignore a life which honours that journey. I know that my dad honoured his journey.
The following quote is from Terry Pratchett, in his book “Reaper Man”: It was later that his story really came to an end – if “story” means: all that he did and caused and set in motion. No one is truly dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away. The span in someones life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence.
Considering those words I would then say that my father will never die. His knowing of great love and generosity, consideration and respect lives on in our hearts and carries through to all who remember and act on the simple, yet great small acts of kindness he continuously gave to those around him.
Thank you for coming here today to join us in celebration of this man I have been blessed to call Dad. Thank you Dad for being my Dad - thank you for this great family you created through the power of your love
may God bless his spirit. may God bless you all.