We all lose people we love, people who are integral to us. We cannot escape loss. I will never know what it must feel like to lose a child but I know the sorrow of a mother or father’s death.
Today, my father-in-law, Edward Duffy, died.
His wife, Jean, and his seven children are in that unenviable position today of realizing they will never see Ed’s smile again or hear his laugh. They will never sit down for a family dinner with him or debate the future of America.
It is a very hard thing to think about death in those ways. So finite.
But I have learned some things in all the years that have passed without the physical presence of my parents. I have learned that their love has stayed with me, no matter that I cannot see them or hear them or feel them.
Ed would have turned 90 later this month. He lived a long and full life. He grew up on a farm in upstate New York, served in the Navy during World War II and excelled in his banking career. By the time he retired from a top position at Marine Midland Bank, Ed had built a comfortable life for his family. He served on the boards of several companies and was wise with his money, as every good banker should be.
But most of all, he cared deeply about his family. They mattered more to him than anything else. That was something that drew me to the Duffys. When I first met them, my parents were in India and I saw them for a few days every year, if I was lucky. I wanted so much to be a part of a family, and Ed and Jean were gracious enough to give me that gift. After my parents died, I thought of Ed and Jean as my own mom and dad.
I reminded Kevin today of his father’s long and rewarding life. Ed’s children were lucky to have him around so long. That’s something precious many of us don’t get.
Ed may no longer be here on Earth and we will miss him. But his spirit is within all those he loved and he will continue to be a guiding light in their lives.
Here’s to you, Edward Duffy, and a life well lived.