.......which is why I'm writing this on the 17th.
I couldn't bring myself to do it yesterday.
I really shouldn't though....
Hate that day.
That blackened square on the calendar in 1993.
Because it is the day a miracle happened.
The day for which our Savior suffered and died.:
It's the day my Dad entered into his Eternal Reward.
The day God invited him to come Home.
Selfishly, I so hate it - he was taken from us.
Joyfully, I recognize, of course, that Dad's suffering was
finally, finally, over.
And that a lifetime of living for the Lord would grant him
his hard- earned salvation.
And once home from the cemetery , Mom said....
Well that was the longest wake I hope any of us ever attend.
We came to refer to Dad's illness as a three year long vigil of waiting,
watching and railing against God
Didn't he do enough? Give enough? Be enough?
That he should be stripped of his memories.
That he should need to search for his family in his last days,
when we were all right there by him.
In time, our anger was assuaged. The ravages on our souls faded some,
what with the day to day demands of life, obligations, responsibilities.
But the emptiness still remains.
And although I do hate the day that was his last here with us,
I'm in awe of the miracle that is our Faith.
The redemption that dad finally received for his worldly 77 year journey
<Erasmus Hall HS 1935>
This is a man who....
~grew up in Brooklyn, son of an Irish immigrant
whose mom gave him an Italian name so he '"wouldn't stand out."
Yes, he was one of a couple of dozen "Vincents"
on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn!
But he was the only one with the dead-giveaway- Irish surname.
~ never went to college, but was the most intelligent,
quick thinker I ever knew.
~was abandoned by his own dad at a young age and so,
grew up to be the father he never had to his own five kids
~ enlisted in The War in December 1941, following FDR's
" A Day hat will Live in Infamy" speech..
Because that's what able bodied American men did
in defense of their country's freedoms, despite never having held a gun.
~was a member of The Greatest Generation, but hated that moniker.
Each generation is great in its own way, he'd say.
If "all" one had to do, he'd say, is fight evil and
take freedom back on the world stage, well, that's a golden opportunity
to achieve greatness. How easy is it step up to the challenge?
Yes, he was humble.
~Rose from the rank of Private to Captain in the US Army Infantry
within eighteen months,
leading his troop in the Pacific Theater to obliterate dozens of Japanese
forces and drive them out of The Philippines.
~ Took a short leave in October 1943 to come home and marry
his girl...my mom...and drive across the US
to Camp Roberts in Paso Robles, California,
where he'd ship out again to the islands in the
South Pacific, under attack by enemy forces.
~arrived home from the front lines in August 1945 to meet his
daughter, his first born
~suffered PTSD, before it had a name and did not talk about
the atrocities he witnessed, ever.
But did talk about a few scattered memories of his comrades.
40 years later.
~worked in publishing and instilled in all
of us a lifelong love of books, reading, writing.
~ was raised Catholic and practiced his faith throughout his
youth, due to his Mom's fervent love of The Church.....
a convert from the Episcopalian Church.
Once returning from The War, he attended daily mass
for the rest of his life, except when he was too ill toward the end.
~on many Sundays, challenged our young, new pastor
on the intent of his homilies.
When they began thrashing out theology so much so that they
blocked the church door
for incoming parishioners to the following mass,
their conversation was brought home and, thus,
began a decades - long friendship which had Fr Kain included
in most of our family Sunday events.
~always considered his children and his grandchildren his
~always had time for us, for anything we needed.
Despite his demanding job, which was stressful and paid
him to afford us with the basics.
None of us ever felt we were lacking.
The redemption and entry to Eternal Life that Dad received.....
well that's what is helping me heal.
Even 24 years later.
A deeper love and reverence of our Faith and
the fundamental mystery that it simply is,
help the cavernous emptiness become not quite so daunting.
Here's to you Dad......
Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
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