Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others……………….. That is how I would describe my father's journey in the last 16 months of his life. Harry, my dad, was an amazing soul who touched so many peoples lives, it is apparent by looking around this room. I am sure there is not one of you here that does not have a "Harry story" of how they met or interacted. Whether it be about his firm yet inviting hand shake, his warm and infectious laugh, his quick wit and charm, or telling him his fly was down… It was one, I am, sure you will always remember. I am in awe of the fact that my father did not realize the impact he had on people's lives. He could not understand what he did that made so many reach out throughout his illness. The reality is, he spent his life doing well by others, not because he had to, but because that is just what you do. Which in turn, is why we are all here today to celebrate him.
My father embraced his illness just as he embraced life, with humor, dignity, truth, strength, hope, and courage. He did not live in the negative, he found reason to always be positive. When the cards were stacked against him he would say " Well the bad news is I have 8 more weeks of Chemo, but the good news is they think I am going to be around for another 8 weeks!!" His life was filled with so much love and laughter. He worked hard, for himself, for his family. He loved what he did, helping people see was his God like quality, and, as he always said, "You only get two per customer, so you better take care of them!' I have spent the majority of my life trying to emulate him, he is someone that I am proud to call not only my father, but my friend and mentor.
He was the truest friend you could ask for. If you came to him, he would not ask WHY, or WHAT, but HOW he could be there for you, help you. He would give you the shirt of his back, it may come to you with a few coffee stains and some remnants of the morning's jelly doughnut, but non the less it was yours if you wanted it.. My father was the ultimate to confide in, and I can absolutely guarantee that if you did, he took it with him. If you were to ask me, he hung the moon.
I can, without a doubt, tell you that he is smiling and looking down on all of us right now. He is without pain, he is free. In the end, my father left the way he wanted to, on his terms, peacefully, in his bed, with love surrounding him. He opened his arms and let his angels take him home. He was an incredible son, brother, husband, father and friend. He loved his family, he adored his grandchildren, Ava and Kai, you put a smile on his heart as he told you daily, Erik, he was so proud of you, proud of the man you have become and continue to be, and mom, he loved you so deeply, you had an incredible connection to each other, I was lucky enough to bare witness to that, you were best friends and he was so thankful for you, we all are, So thankful you said "I do" 37 years ago in this very spot.... And Me, well, I know daddy, I know……. I promise to look for you in the stars at night where you told me you would be, I love you, rest in peace, now, in your new "heaven"
My family and I, can not begin to express, the immense gratitude we have for outpouring of love, prayers and strength that you have all offered us. My dad's celebration was beautiful, and he was sure enjoying seeing you all there from up above…. The grieving process is one that goes in stages. It comes in waves and I know that we will all feel his absence for a long time. It is extremely difficult to not see his physical being, but knowing he is all around us leaves a sense of some comfort…… Please continue to pray for our family and send your well wishes and love, believe me they are helping… Hold your loved ones close, make sure you always are doing something that makes you happy, enjoy everyday as it is your last…..
And ALWAYS smile when when you think of Harry..