The Patriarch

This is the transcript of the eulogy I gave at the funeral service for my wife’s father who passed four years ago today.

Victor surrounded by Family 2007

Victor surrounded by Family 2007

Admiral “Bull” Halsey said after the Battle for Midway Island that “…there are no great men, only ordinary men, forced by circumstances to do great things”
Some warriors never see the battle field, but instead they are given life, and all the ordinary circumstances that will make them extraordinary people… That will make them heroes to families who sit in places like this today – recalling all the times they spent together. Times with their husbands, fathers, grandfathers, friends and neighbors. Memories, that in their minds will always be larger than life.
I think then that heroes are ordinary men who accept the circumstances of their own lives and do great things …

the Seasons of Life

There are so many things we’ll still see
steely eyes, compassion and anger
Hallowed hands that shaped our lives
Sunny days of youth, bus stops and beaches
life, in all the places where we grew ~
The birthdays, marriages, and christenings
Learning, laughing and crying out loud.
All the ways we were family,
And times we wondered if we were friends?

There’s a voice we’ll still hear in many words:
The war is over, you’re going home –
to Roses, to children dancing
and Maggie’s back in town.
Beaches where oceans will whisper – just float!
And telephones ringing
waking with sarcasm stinging
Lennon sisters swinging
Miller’s band
and Mets games on TV.

And the scents of the seasons will linger
Christmas evergreens and sugar cookies
Thanksgiving turkeys, apple pies
lilacs, lilies, roses red ~
and new mowed summer lawns.
The smell of sweat
that burns the eyes
as sawdust flies
building our lives
and our families

Yet, most of all our hearts will keep
each day and every way we felt
Our pride, returned with pride
Each hurting from a fall
The comfort of the arms and hands
The jester and the smile
All of this was his to give
The Patriarch
Who kept us all within his heart
Who now, forever, and always
will live within our souls

In the film “Eat, Pray, Love” – they talk about the Italian word ‘Atraverssiamo’, meaning “let’s cross over”
Today, we all cross over into a new place, one where we follow the way Vic lead for us, the way an ordinary man does extraordinary things. Rises at 5 AM to take a train to NYC, to drive a bus, walk a beat, working split shifts, to raise a family. Spends scores of years doing the ordinary things that when I look around me here, I see have turned to into extraordinary achievements.
And, I know that when I listen in the quiet of my mind, I will hear the sounds of seabirds, carried on the wind, where he rests along the shore, of an ocean we call – Eternity …

May the Almighty grant his soul eternal rest,
and may this family always be blessed with
his strength, his peace, and his love

Thank you Victor, for all you have given to this world,
Peace be with you always,
Amen.

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