18 June 2012

Living Life Large



My favourite photo of my father 'Tom'.

I have two reasons to celebrate this Father's Day.
The first is that Mr. H surprised us with a visit yesterday. We were not
 expecting to see him until we arrived in Vietnam next month. 
In the early morning hours he arrived, a bottle of my
favourite champagne in his arms. What a guy, just in time for Father's Day.

There is another man I think of and one who I celebrate quietly, 
in my own way, every Father's Day, my dad. It has been several
years since he passed but a day doesn't go by that I do not think of him.

On Father's Day I take out all my photo boxes, files and folders and
lose myself in them. I always start with one letter...the one that says it all.
My brother-in-law, Scott, wrote the following for my father's eulogy. 
Every time I read the letter, it fills my heart. 
He captured the essence of the man and what a man he was. 
My dad, a father to six children who still miss him dearly.

Scott wrote...

It never dawned on me until I sat down to write this how very appropriate it was that I met Tom in Las
Vegas. The bright lights, that reminds me of his holiday displays. The atmosphere is filled with the
same eternal sense of optimism that surrounded Tom. The gamblers unshakable conviction that the
big win is right around the corner. The belief that life should be lived large.

Living large at Christmas.
My father's Christmas lights in our front yard.

We had an almost instant connection, and spent a lot of time talking over that first weekend and many other times on his porch. I learned the first night that Tom had two things he was passionate about: his family and his work. He spoke a lot of how he cared for his family and how proud he was of his children. He wanted everything for them. Unlike many fathers when they speak of what they want for their children, he wanted his children to have things their way, to be happy in their own way. He made it clear that their happiness was his happiness.

When he talked about his work, it wasn't about deals or profits, it was about "the trill of the chase" and the pride he felt teaching his sons a way to make a living. He told me "Life's too short to do something you don't enjoy". Though the topic was business, it was clear he meant more. Many conversations over the years the topic would concern his philosophies in life. One strong belief he held is that people should always pursue what they wanted rather, than wait around for it to happen.

Tom knew how to live. He truly believed that life was meant to be a pleasure, and pursued life the way he went about everything: full tilt and in a big way. A meal at this home was never just a meal...it was a feast. A party wasn't a party unless it was a big affair. He had two Christmas trees because one was always obscured by all the presents. And pleasure wasn't pleasure unless it was shared, and the more people he shared it with, the more he enjoyed it.


My father... living large on the sea.

Tom was the most giving person I ever met, the only person I've ever known who always gave selflessly, He would actually seem embarrassed when someone thanked him, as if he thought that, had he given enough, there would be no room for thanks. He rarely spoke of what he did for people...he just did it. Tom showed his love through actions more than words, and his actions showed that he always thought of the happiness of others, and that there weren't enough words to express how much he loved his family more than anything in the world.

Tom's actions gave pleasure and happiness to everyone who has ever known him. Remembering that happiness is remembering Tom.


Remembering my dad, 
who gave me more happiness 
than a daughter could wish for.

Father and daughter living large with dance and a kiss.


And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

from
'When Great Trees Fall'
by Mary Angelou


with special thanks to Scott
for making each Father's Day 
so special to me.

26 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful post Jeanne, both your husband and father sound like the most wonderful men. And to surprise you today, how wonderful! Those holiday lights are amazing. Enjoy your surprise visit. XO

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  2. Jeanne, A beautiful tribute to your Father. Enjoy your weekend with your family. Bonnie

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  3. So very beautiful and thank you for sharing ♥♥

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  4. Eloquent and tender Jeanne...just lovely.

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  5. What a wonderful tribute to your father Jeanne...

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  6. Hello Jeanne

    Sniff, sniff. That is such a beautiful tribute to a very special man. How you have followed with Maya's wisdom adds to it greatly.

    I hope your Dad is with mine today in heaven, dancing a slip jig

    Hugs

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  7. Like you, I received the incomparable gift of a wonderful father, a gift utterly priceless for a girl. It's how we know what a good man looks like when we find him. I know you miss your father. I miss mine, too. But we sure were lucky, weren't we?

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  8. That was beautiful. And you seem to be your father's daughter, in the most important ways. Thank you for sharing Jeanne.
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss blog)

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  9. Jeanne I too thank you for sharing with us. What a tremendous tribute to your father your brother-in-law wrote. Very hard to not well up with tears. My favorite part is "remember that happiness, is remembering Tom". I do think your father lives on in you and how you live and love, & you will have passed on all and more onto your tremendous family. I hope your Father's Day with your husband being home has been a memorable one for you all.

    xx Deb

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  10. That is a wonderful tribute to your father. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

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  11. It is so good to honor those amazing people in our lives.

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  12. What a lovely tribute...it reminds us all what today is all about...

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  13. I am very, very moved. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, I feel the wiser for it. I miss my Dad so much. Today was a tough day as it often is and so you showed me the other option, of celebrating his spirit. Your brother-in-laws speech brought one thing to mind, how, when both my Sister and I were acting, he would carry our headshots around in his briefcase and show them at meetings!

    I can only imagine that your Dad would be so proud of a daughter who carries on a tradition of generosity of spirit as you do.
    xo,
    H

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  14. Jeanne,

    You have been blessed in your life with two incomparable men. What a wonderful surprise to have mr. h surprise you! And with your favorite champagne...even better.

    And your dad, oh my dear I have tears in my eyes reading this wonderful tribute by your brother in law! Your father sounds like a kind, happy and generous man, on that enjoyed life. Jeanne he raised a wonderful daughter, for my friend you are all of that and MORE to all of your blog readers and friends. Thank you for sharing your special memories.


    Have a happy day, Elizabeth

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  15. What a beautiful text by your brother-in-law. Very touching. I love the one about the two Christmas trees. That is SO something I could do:-D It sounds as if all his good qualities have travelled through to you, Jeanne. So much of the text made me think that if 'he' was changed into 'Jeanne' it would fit very well.

    I very much agree with Pamela's quote. ' It's how we know what a good man looks like when we find him'. So true.

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  16. Jeanne that is so beautiful - it's made my week - and such lovely photos - so much warmth and love in them. He was a very handsome man - with such a warm face. Thank you for sharing. Fx

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  17. Jeanne, as you can imagine this post means a lot to me and I know just how lucky you are to have two truly amazing men in your life! The piece by Mary Angelou is so true for life is better because they existed and as long as we remember with joy they will continue to exist. Jules xxx

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  18. Jeanne, it very evident.. the apples don't fall far from their trees.. your pa would have been very delighted with your generous spirit that I've got to know soo as well, even though we've never met in person! Great tribute .. thank you for insight and sharing about your lovely dad.. dad's are so special to us girls! I miss my dad today too.. (Au did'nt celebrate dads day, but SA did).. Great eulogy your bro-in law did.. Hope the bubbles were enjoyed.. happy packing.. hugs j

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  19. This is so special. What a wonderful blessing it is to have memories of an amazing father. Thanks for sharing!

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  20. What a beautiful post. I never have the words but I agree with everyones wonderful comments. X

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  21. Such a beautiful tribute to your father Jeanne... and what a wonderful surprise to have Mr H home... Enjoy your days together... xv

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  22. Oh Jeanne, I am sobbing in Hobart. You know why. What a moving and eloquent eulogy to your darling Dad. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Those photos of the two of you together are so precious. And the Maya Angelou quote has really touched me. Thanks. J x

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  23. What a wonderful post! You've brought tears to my eyes. We were taught that whenever you remember someone, they live forever in your heart. An absolutely beautiful tribute.

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  24. What a beautiful and sincere post Jeanne, you are a very special person with a fantastic sense of family life.
    Sharon
    xx

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  25. Dear Jeanne,
    Thank you for this post. I am lucky enough to still have my father alive (87), and he has just travelled from Australia to Chicago and then on to spend 2 weeks with me in London. We have a lovely relationship, always have, and your post brought back lots of memories of my childhood with my parents. Thank you! Anne

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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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