When my dad passed away last July at the age of 87, there were no public memorials or vigils. No graveside scenes or heartfelt eulogies, because there wasn’t even a funeral. Not even an obit in the newspaper.
Intensely private people, my parents wanted it this way. Hardly anyone knew my dad, and even fewer really got to know him. But there’s something the world should know.
He’s exactly the kind of hero our world needs today. He did something truly amazing, something that raises him far above the average man in my eyes. Something a man does, that most all of us have forgotten how to do.
My dad had already raised a family to young adulthood when his first wife passed away in the early 1970s. A few years later, in his late 40s, he met my mom and they decided not only to get married, but to start a family together.
Stop and think about that. My dad had already raised three children up to adulthood, and had had his wife pass away. He was solidly middle aged. And he was done–his years as a family man were done.
And then he started all over.
He raised my mom’s young son from her first marriage, and he and my mom had two sons of their own–my brother and I. Do the math–he was actively raising children almost non-stop until he was nearly 70.
I mentioned this to my mom recently, and she said that he never regretted it. Never complained. Never looked back. He committed to doing it all again and he gave it 100%–helped take care of us as babies, worked the side jobs to make ends meet, squeezed in time to attend our activities, and all past the age when most men are done.
Or when many men, these days, haven’t ever started. In a society that increasingly idolizes childlessness, he raised not just one, but two families, back to back. His entire adult life was dominated by fatherhood.
Once, when I was an angry teen, he thanked me for letting him have another chance in life. I wasn’t sure what he meant and, being an angry teen, didn’t care. Now, as a middle aged father of 7 myself, I understand perfectly.
He was a total hero, the kind that songs and movies are about, the quiet middle class guy just doing what really needs to be done, with no one forcing him to and with no applause when it got tough.
He didn’t just do what so many today aren’t willing to do, he did it twice. With all his heart.