I struggle to write my Dad’s obit. And then I rewrite it. And rewrite it again.
Where in the world to start?
My Dad taught me to read before I entered Kindergarden, he taught me to be a photographer, how to build and fly radio control model airplanes, how to fish, how to paddle a canoe and how to rebuild the engine in a car.
Most of all, he taught me how to think, and he stoked my passion for social justice. For my 14th birthday on Nov. 15, 1969, he granted my wish by taking me to Washington, D.C. to march against the War in Vietnam.
Because I could, I sewed a gib sail for the catamaran he made from two canoes, I took him to lunch with Texas writer and iconoclast Molly Ivins, and I married a man who loved him and liked talking to him.
But the fact is, since his death on March 28, 2014, the meaning and truth of my Dad’s life ~ and the meaning of my own life ~ is changing.
There are facts, but there are no longer hard and fast truths about our lives ~ the truth and meaning are fluid, evolving.
I understand this a little better now, thanks to a generous and wise friend who pointed me to Robert A. Neimeyer, a psychologist who believes the central process in grieving is responding to the loss by reconstructing meaning. (Book here: http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/431651A.aspx video here: http://youtu.be/xYS0W-Ulg4g)
So I will take the obit and the story of his life in bites, reconstructing the meaning in chapters. Starting with the facts and finding the truth as I go.
I love you Dad.