On Monday, April 3, 2017, my father left this world for the next. His journey ended just days after a diagnosis of leukemia. My father was not a patient man, so my siblings and I all agreed that once he was presented with this diagnosis, he was going to get on with it. We would have liked more time with him, but we were blessed with 87 good years. The picture above shows him at 40 years of age - I found the picture about 10 years ago and was immediately struck by how much I looked at him. For many years, I had thought that I favored my mother's side of the family - but there was no denying that he was my father. The picture shows my father in his element, a book in his hands (though there is likely a glass of scotch close by and probably a cigarette burning in an ashtray) and the model ship in the background is one that he surely made, a lifelong devotion of his, making models, and painting lead soldiers.
My mother passed away 11 years ago, this past February, and I am sure that he is back with her now. My mother firmly believed that when you got to heaven, you got to be whatever age you wanted and I hope for his sake, she is about 20 and he is the same. They were married for 53 years and raised four children - I am the youngest of all of us. He was also the proud grandfather of eight, LBA and SoBA, along with three children from my brother and sister. He also became a great grandfather just in the past few years.
For the past nine years, he was blessed to have found a companion who took care of him as much as he took care of her. While she could never replace my mother, he found love a second time, and my siblings and I were grateful that she was in his life.
My father spent his professional life on Madison Avenue. He was a Mad Man, before any of us knew what a Mad Man was. He started working at American Home Products, which later became Wyeth, before being bought by Pfizer, in pharmaceutical advertising. He later left AHP to go over to the advertising side exclusively, ending his career at McCann-Erickson. He really enjoyed watching MadMen, as we all did - and we looked forward to talking to him about the latest episode after it aired.
I can't begin to express my thanks to all of those who have supported me and my family over the past week - so many messages of love and support have come to us through Facebook, texts, phone calls, and emails. When we sent my father home on Thursday morning, my brother offered some words of remembrance about my father, quoting Napoleon, one of my father's favorite historical figures, by saying, "What is history but a fable agreed upon?" He offered several stories about my father, which my siblings and I all contributed to, and also included the words of the "Chairman of the Board":
"I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way."