Everything happened so fast — one minute you’re watching the person you’ve always viewed as invincible — tough — having all the answers — go from being mentally with it, and for the most part physically capable — the next they are gone.
It is a loss that many ultimately endure at some stage in their life — when a parent passes. It is said the first year is the toughest — and having your first Father’s Day without a Dad is especially difficult.
Having eulogized my own father recently — the words used to pay tribute to a man whose story has yet to be told is the first part of a larger series — one that needs to start at the end to get to the beginning.
Tribute to my father (May 2, 2019)
It is humbling to look around and see so many of you that have traveled distances great and small to be here today — on behalf of my family we thank you for being here to honor the life of my father, Allen Jerome Krasner.
We come into this world with our life’s journey ahead of us and two things we all have in common — a beginning and an end. It is what happens in between that defines the person we are — what we stand for — and in that way — how we pass along our legacy.
My father sometimes could come across as a man with a tough exterior — but to understand his nature — his essence — was to get to know him — as this was a man with a deep sense of commitment — loyalty — intellectual curiosity — and boldness.
We remember, at times like these, all those special milestones that stand out to us involving someone who has passed.
My father had so many things that stood out in his lifetime that many remember — but apart from the highlights I remember the everyday.
I remember a man from my childhood who constantly worked so many long hours — holding down sometimes 2 or 3 jobs as he was committed to doing whatever it took to provide the best care and educational opportunities for my brother Michael, my sister Julie and myself.
I remember a person who had an amazing talent at being able to approach any situation with an analytical mind that exuded outside-the-box creativity and prowess in everything he did.
I remember a parent who, despite his over demanding commitments, was there for Michael, Julie and I at cub scout meetings, ballet recitals, cheering us on at basketball and soccer games, attending school plays and there at each and every graduation ceremony.
Above all I remember a Dad who showed up — always being there for his three children when it mattered — a Dad who when he said he was going to do something — followed through!
What always amazed me about Dad was his approach to any situation in life — whether it be work or personal — having this innate ability to observe and understand both the obviousness and almost unnoticed things at play. This of course was a skillset that was sometimes both a blessing and curse — especially from the perspective of his children.
Having my brother, sister and I so close in age — often times many situations would arise that would demand the attention of my father, that for a lack of a better metaphor would be when cookies would sometimes go missing from the proverbial cookie jar resulting in having to answer to my father.
Thus, I can recall one such scenario where I was no more than 15 years old playing in my parents’ basement and throwing around a baseball thinking I couldn’t miss when practicing pitches with the sofa cushions acting as a catcher. Well — who knew how difficult it could be to throw a curve ball…which was evident by the hole it created in the stucco style wall. Of course, at the time I naturally thought it would be best not to burden my parents with this situation as I proceeded to patch it up with a combination of duct tape and off-color white out. A few days went by and the accident was a distant memory to me — until I heard the perilous phrase and tone echo through the house from my father saying, “oh Mister Stephen, we need to have a talk” — that gave away the meeting that would soon follow. In this situation you had on one side a teenager thinking they were smart enough to spin the events that transpired so as to explain away the situation without implicating them self — and on the other side a Dad trying to figure out what happened — albeit a father who had served as counterintelligence research analyst assigned to the Sabotage, Espionage and Countersubversion department of the Navy.
Dad’s commitment to his children never stopped and rather extended organically to all of his grandchildren. With each of them — he was always able to make one-on-one time and interested in learning about each as individuals — understanding and appreciating the uniqueness of each of them. Whereas to many people at times including mom, Michael, Julie and I — he had this tough exterior — to his grandchildren that exterior melted and exposed the soft side of a man who adored the role of being a grandfather. Dad used to joke that if he had known how wonderful it was to be a grandpa — not having to contend with all the parental responsibilities — he would have skipped over to that role from the get go.
Moments come and go in our lives — where those little things add up. Pieces of advice passed along through words of wisdom, sharing of experiences and significant milestone events. We cherish these things — but above all — we remember the people that were always there for us each and every day in our lives.
Dad — one only has to look to your three children and nine grand children and all those whose lives you touched to understand that your legacy is strong and will remain forever embedded in the values and foundations of us all.
Dad — I am so very proud to be your son, and not a day goes by where I don’t think of you. You did it right — no matter what was going on in your own life — you were always putting your children and family first. I will miss you more than you can know — you are the toughest, bravest and smartest person I’ve ever known.
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants…we are who we are because of the hard work of the people who came before us.”
Rest peacefully Dad.
Author Website: www.StephenKrasner.com