I knew him. He was someone I greatly admired and in attending the services for him the other day, I left the funeral a better person than I had entered.
I’m assuming a man who leads a well-lived life probably has that effect on many. Funerals are wonderful for inspiring deep reflection. My experience was no different.
Funny, too, how I’ve often seen a lot of white lies at funerals. Convenient forgetting of details. I mean I have never been to a funeral where someone stood up and said, “Ya know, Joe was a schmuck.” People frequently romanticize those who have passed; they forget the cruddy things and sensationalize the dormant (if not entirely non-existent) qualities, perhaps for their own sakes as much as for holding with appropriate decorum. However, this funeral was remarkable in that there was so much genuine appreciation for the way the man had lived his life. It was like the sentiment of, “Well played, sir” (followed by a quite gentlemanly English tip of the hat) was the predominant viewpoint cascading through the room.
No need to go into too much detail about this person’s identity though. The guy to whom I refer was simply a guy who married his childhood sweetheart, proposed with a cigar band ring, entered medical school four days after his wedding and then turned himself into a renowned cardiologist. The classic self-made man who became a leader in his field, a philanthropist and, most significantly, a wonderful family man.
Speaking of family, his two children blew me away with their eulogies. Each spoke with more strength and courage than I think I believed was in them considering the suddenness of their father’s demise. It was if a generational torch was passed right in front of my eyes – and, as probably goes without saying – I wept like a baby at the beauty and sadness and truth in their words. Is it ironic to be flooded with inspiration to live well created by death?
As a writer, a reader and a consumer of American mass media characters live and die all the time. But when the real thing taps a nearby shoulder, one invariably reflects.
Is there anything more encouraging that that of a great example? Prayers to you and your family, Fred. And thank you.