Thursday, September 18, 2008

A good man goes home...

A few posts back, I wrote about my former father-in-law, Gib Simon.

I was a bit concerned when I published that post about how it would be received by ol' Gibber and the Simon clan, being that I kind of put his business out there for the whole world to see, coupled by the fact that I am a relative once removed.
As it turns out I needn't have worried. The family was (as usual) gracious and kind and even appreciative that I'd made the request for prayer on his behalf.

I'm sorry to tell you that Gibber passed on this last weekend.

He spent a few days in the hospital, but managed to get home at the end, where he was made comfortable and was able to spend his last days and hours in the company of his family.
His funeral was yesterday and he was sent off in the style he would have loved; a beautiful service at the church he attended virtually every morning for the past 30 years or so;
a touching and well deserved eulogy from his eldest daughter, Mary;
attendance by a host of family and friends and his peers from the real estate industry who acknowledged him as a pioneer and a leader in his field;
a luncheon back at the parish hall featuring his favorite: pumpkin pie for everyone!

I was touched when I attended the viewing at the funeral home on Monday evening, and as I gave my former mother-in-law a hug she told me her daughter Mary had something for me from Gib. As I was saying my goodbye's to the family, she handed me a scrap of paper and asked me to read it when I got home.
It was a note from Gibber that he had written just a few days before he died, thanking me for "saying those kind things" about him on this site and for all the good thoughts and prayers he received "from all those people I don't even know...."

So allow me to pass that forward to all of you who took the time to say a word of prayer or to write a few kind things of your own or who just took a moment to think a good thought on his behalf. You should know that I received many notes and e-mails after that post which I passed on to the family. They were truly touched by every one.

It has been a crazy time here, as any of you who've lost a family member can understand. All five of my children were in town to say goodbye to their grandpa, arriving from California (2), Texas (2) and Chicago. They, all but one, returned to their homes far away within hours of the funeral. My Meggie Mae will be heading back to Chi-town tomorrow.
I was made proud once again by my kids.
My son Aaron (who served as a pall-bearer) and my daughters Andrea and Katie Rose arrived in town on Friday and were able to be with their grandfather when he passed.
Meg got into town on Sunday and Leah fought through flight delays, missed connections and a forced overnight in Philly to get here on Tuesday. They were all a comfort and a help to their mother and their grandmother. Audible gasps at the sight of their beauty were heard from the congregation when they brought the gifts to the altar during the funeral mass.
(I swear it's true. Ask anyone who was there...)


The Simon family will carry on, as families do. Gib's bride Virginia will be held close by her children and grandchildren and her church community and the wide circle of friends that she and ol' Gibber have built over the decades.
Time will dull the acute pain of loss. Grief will pass and the stories will get funnier. The belly will get rounder and the deeds will get bigger. In our memories the blue eyes will retain their mischievous twinkle and whatever faults that may have been will disappear completely.

Somewhere right now, just beyond the range of the naked eye, that ol' lefty is teeing up a little white ball . He's keeping his head down and his right arm straight and he's taking a slooow back-swing, coming around hard and pointing his little round belly at the pin and letting her fly.
I can almost hear him now, can't you?

"Well, I'll be go to hell! I finally got rid of that slice!"


Sunshine said...

great post dad.

love you,

spud said...

as always i haven't been on the net. so let me pass on my belated sympathy for your family and your former in laws. he must have really meant alot to you to evoke such passionate phrasing. i give you all, all my best in this sorrowful time.

Mike Bowler Sr. said...

Doug, you have always had a great gift for words. It was a beautiful celebration of Gib's life and you do have a beautiful family. Your son looks like someone I know, oh, that's you. Mike

leah said...

Beautifully written and powerfully felt. Thanks Dad... sniff.

Love you,

carrie k said...

Your words touched my heart.You wrote with such compassion and ..truth...about a man that you admired and loved. Never let a moment pass without telling someone that you love them. It's never too late..
It wasnt for you! Well done...well done...

Jim Simon said...


I think he's taking money from his golfing buddies up in heaven and droppin those putts! You do opine so well.

Roulduke said...

Doug, your words are very moltivating. I am glad to have known the old Gibber. I wish I could have been there to see your family...I love them all.

Anonymous said...

Your words are as beautiful as your heart. Thanks for the love and thoughts!

Your boy,