It's never too late to get to know someone

I went to a funeral of a man I didn't really know yesterday, and left feeling like I really missed out on knowing someone special.

Sometimes you do things to show support for your friends. You know they're hurting. You may even know their pain. You don't ever tell them you know how they're feeling, because you really don't know their brand of suffering. But you know that your presence means something to them, which is really sort of the point. Not very many years ago, I had friends alongside me at my own father's funeral, which gave me a little perspective.

This man was a father of a very good friend of mine. I didn't know his father, but I like to think I know his son pretty well. What I didn't realise is that the son took after his father in a lot of ways: his sense of dedication, drive, and determination. His wry with and cunning sense of humour. And probably a lot more that I'll never connect the dots for. That is for other people to see; people who knew the man, and people who know his son. Unfortunately I missed out on half of this, and I didn't know how sorry I would feel for his son until I attended the funeral. 

I learned a lot in that service which seemed too short to commemorate such a full life, and I'm sorry I didn't get to know this man, though I didn’t exactly have any opportunities to do so. I learned a little about his personality from his comments and scribblings on his son's website, but didn't have the chance to make a personal connection. But he seemed like a great guy, and somebody worth knowing. And so I'll remember him as the man I met at his funeral, and as the man who raised the kid who is now my friend, and who embodies so much of his father.

This man died suddenly, doing something that he loved. But that something wasn't just a sideline hobby for him. It seems that this man was so many things to so many people. He touched lives, he changed people's perceptions. He was "known for" the things he did, the way he acted -- his perseverance and his workmanship. I found his memorial service almost inspiring, although that sounds a bit odd. I have a feeling that the people he has left behind in this world will carry with them his influence and dedication. And that is something I think his family and friends can take heart in: that they will continue to share one thing in common: that they knew this very special man.

I hope that in the future his son will speak of his father often, as I try to do the same about my father. It makes me still feel connected to him, and makes me recognize often the influence he had over the man I am today. I can't say what it is I'll be known for, but I have a feeling that my friend's father may have never known the true extent of his reach.  I must say, however, that I'm glad to have met him at all.

Posted bythemikestand at 2:29 PM  

2 stepped up to the mike:

sween said... 2:04 PM, June 16, 2008  

Thank you so much for this post, Mike.

Sarah Adams said... 11:06 AM, July 16, 2008  

I'm a little behind on my reading so I just saw this. Thank you so much, Mike. It really does mean a lot that you were there and that you've gotten to know Dad a bit.

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