I ran into someone from my past whom I haven’t seen since I was about 20 years old. We greeted each other and then, for some reason, even though we each were on our way to someplace, we stood and talked.
This man knew my father. He spoke from his heart about my father’s kindness and gentle nature. He told me that he never met a man like him and that my father served as a role model about what a man could and should be. He was young and impressionable when he met my dad and in his world he did not meet men like my father. Men like my father were compassionate and empathic. They found their strength in the loving connection they nurtured with others. He said that he hadn’t spoken about my father much in many years but that he thought about him often and wanted me to know the enormous impact that my dad had on him.
He shared with me that he observed my father and learned a lot from him about what it meant to be a human being; a person who always demonstrated caring and about others and who never appeared to be judgmental. Upon reflection, I realized that I never heard my father say anything mean or disparaging to anyone. I never heard or saw him treat anyone disrespectfully. My father looked for, found, and focused on the best in each person even when they had a hard time seeing it in themselves. He was patient and a wonderful listener. In our small town he was a large man who wanted to help others. His true essence was kindness and generosity.
This chance encounter turned out to be a miraculous gift for me. It was comforting for me to hear this man’s impressions of my father. He recognized and valued the gentleness of his being that emanated from gratitude and love.
I am appreciative that we each took the time to talk for to honor the memory of a wonderful man. I felt as if I had a moment alone with my dad and I realized, once again, that I’ve never met anyone else like him and that I was so fortunate to have been his daughter.