7. Memory

Yesterday I attended a funeral for one of my father’s best friends, Frank. Having suffered with a virulent form of cancer, Frank remained the man of hope and optimism. He said that he was going to beat the odds and that he refused to let his sickness get him down.

 

His good friend, Rosie, spoke at the funeral and told of her relationship with the eighty-four year old World War II veteran, a man who was part of what Tom Brokaw called “the greatest generation.” She spoke of Frank as determined, forward looking, and having a voracious appetite for reading. She painted a picture of a man interested in the “workings” of this world and of a mind that seemed to be of a much younger spirit. He enjoyed business and investment, and he especially enjoyed the company of people – people of all ages.

 

He loved my father, and my father loved him. And even though both men lost their wives within the last few years, they seemed determined not to withdraw from life. Instead, they chose to seek and renew what life that they had left. Frank used his time wisely, enjoying friendships and family, and continuing also to keep his mind focused on the “work at hand.” To the end, Frank refused to surrender. And even when he finally saw that his body was not going to allow him to go any further, he sought instead another place, the place where he could live forever. Listen to Rosie’s closing remarks:

 

“Not long before he Frank lost consciousness he sang a song. And that was unusual because Frank really couldn’t sing. But I can think of no sweeter thing than to hear his weakened voice singing these lines:

 

Show me the way to go home

I’m tired and I want to go to bed

I had a little drink about an hour ago

And it went right to my head

Where ever I may roam

On land or sea or foam

You will always hear me singing this song

Show me the way to go home

 

You’re home, Frank.”

 

Day 7 Guide

 

Think today of the men and women who even until death, sought life — those who felt it an honor and a privilege to lend a helping hand, show a friendly smile, or engineer a way to solve a problem.

 

© 2005, Levi Hill

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