The Jewish people have a tradition of remembering their beloved dead on the anniversary of their death, which they call (in Yiddish), Jahrzeit (YART-site), literally, 'Time of the Year'.
It was a year ago today that my dad died. Without going into morbid detail, the images of his final days and hours are still pretty fresh in my mind. But the images of 54 years that his life and mine coincided have, I don't know, taken on a fuller perspective? The final chapter having been written, I can now appreciate the entirety of his life, and his effect on mine.
It's good for me to step back and take a bit of time to remember him, to recall with gratitude all that he gave me, and taught me, by his own admirable example much more than any specific instruction. Of course, I still miss him; I suppose I always will. But, a year having passed, the starkness of losing him has softened a bit. I have more of a sense of perspective - of the completion of his life, and his central place in my own life, of his humanity, and what a good man he was, and how fortunate I am to have been his son.
Thanks, Dad. Requiescat In Pace. . .\
Dad, being the engineer that he was, would probably get a bit of enjoyment from knowing that Neil Armstrong died within two days of the anniversary of his own death. Armstrong was not a pioneer in the sense of Columbus, or Lewis and Clark, but he was a great, brave man in his own test-pilot, engineer way, and the circumstances of history have assigned him, perhaps along with John Glenn, an emblematic role among the early astronauts, and the American space program of the 60s more generally. Of course, he was the first human being to set foot on the surface of the moon, and his "One small step. . ." quote is indelibly etched in history. Even today, more than forty years later,only eleven men besides Neil Armstrong have ever walked on the moon. What an incredible experience. . . I can only imagine.
RIP, Neil Armstrong. . .