Friday, September 22, 2017

Tribute to Dad

"To be the father of growing daughters is to understand something of what Yeats evokes with his imperishable phrase ‘terrible beauty.’ Nothing can make one so happily exhilarated or so frightened: it’s a solid lesson in the limitations of self to realize that your heart is running around inside someone else’s body. It also makes me quite astonishingly calm at the thought of death: I know whom I would die to protect and I also understand that nobody but a lugubrious serf can possibly wish for a father who never goes away.”Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Recently, our own Mary Ann Rodman lost her father. Our hearts go out to her and her family during this time of grief.

Roy F. Rodman lived such an amazingly interesting life. He served as a clerk with the FBI before joining the Navy in 1942. He was a cryptographer in the Signal Intelligence Service, where he met and married the love of his life, Frances C. Smith. They were married for 62 years. After the war, he worked as an FBI Special Agent for 37 years. He was one of the original FBI agents sent by President Johnson to investigate the "Mississippi Burning" case. After retiring from the FBI, he worked as Chief Investigator for the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance. O, the stories he could tell! For more information about his amazing life, see his obituary here.

We all know that life is short, no matter how many years we are given. And when we lose someone we love, it is infinity shocking to our very core. It is a sadness so profound, we feel we may never breathe again. Death is an ending, true enough, but it can also be a beginning, says Marc and Angel:

“… endings like these often seem ugly, they are necessary for beauty too – otherwise it’s impossible to appreciate someone or something, because they are unlimited. Limits illuminate beauty, and death is the definitive limit – a reminder that we need to be aware of this beautiful person, and appreciate this beautiful thing called life. Death is also a beginning, because while we have lost someone special, this ending, like the loss of any wonderful life situation, is a moment of reinvention. Although sad, their passing forces us to reinvent our lives, and in this reinvention is an opportunity to experience beauty in new, unseen ways and places. And finally, of course, death is an opportunity to celebrate a person’s life, and to be grateful for the beauty they showed us.” -- Marc and Angel

As teachers, we are often faced with students who have lost a loved one. As Samantha Darby suggests, “There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to helping children grieve, cope with, or process their feelings in difficult circumstances. Instead, you simply have to be there for them in any way possible—to listen to their stories, help maintain normalcy, and to be willing to talk to them about what’s happened in a way that makes sense to them.” Darby offers a list of books to help children cope with the loss of a parent here

With my father

by Kobayashi Issa

With my father
I would watch dawn
over green fields.

Photo by Pixabay

Our love to Mary Ann.

Bobbi Miller


Carla Killough McClafferty said...

A lovely tribute. My sympathy to you Mary Ann.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for putting this together, Bobbi. Mary Ann's dad was an amazing man.

Mary Ann Rodman said...

Thank you, Bobbi.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Beautifully done, Bobbi. Thank you.

One of my favorite quotes is:

"All mankind is one volume and everyman a chapter. When one man dies, he is not ripped out, but translated, to another language." ~ John Donne

My heart goes out to Mary Ann and her family ~