Today I officiated at the funeral and graveside service for the most amazing family. Linley Michael was a 72 year-old man who meet his wife Marie in Pakistan.  Like so many wonderful immigrants, they came to the U.S. for a chance at opportunity. Together, they raised six amazing sons.  He died in the loving arms of his wife of 45 years. 

His sons told me of how mom was the “iron first,” letting dad be “the calming waters.”  

The stories they shared were so moving.  They told me of a dad who made them feel so very loved and special.    Who was an amazing prankster.  And a peacemaker, and a never-give-up fighter.  A man generous, and kind.  Who lived life to the fullest even saying to his family, “to hell with poverty.”

He not only provided for his family – sending two sons to private school at their request with a monthly tuition payment bigger than his house payment – but he also raised three children of a relative who lost her husband.

He had great accomplishments.  He was a naval cadet, a pilot earning his solo in record time, and a banker.  But as wonderful as these are, they pale in the sunlight of his self-giving, larger-than-life heart.  

From where I sit, his enormous legacy is six boys who are healthy, loving men -- who were not afraid to hug and console each other and their mom -- as they grieved so deeply.   Men who are loving their wives, respecting woman, and bringing up healthy kids.  

I am the luckiest man on the planet.  I am invited as a trusted friend into the lives of amazing people like these.  I get to give voice to the message of an amazing God who loves us intensely.  Who walks with us – experiencing the great highs and brokenhearted sorrows that life gives.  But always with the promise of the Resurrection.
 


Comments

Paul Michael
03/21/2012 8:19pm

Thank you so very much Fr. Bill,
I enjoyed reading every word about my father. I can still clearly remember the day of the funeral when you so graciously and lovingly gave us a voice to speak about our father when we were too emotionally distraught to speak ourselves. You have put into beautiful words his life and legacy and have done him justice. Though the pain still lingers on I can confidently speak for my family when I say that we are able to take some solace in your kind words.

I know my father was an exceptional person and everyone has some wonderful anecdote to mention about him. I am proud to say that I am glad I have the best of both worlds in that my father and mother were able to give me their best qualities while trying to reduce my flaws. I would be more than happy if I were able to live even half the great life that my father lived.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the kind, generous and wonderful work you do with families that know they are about to lose their loved one. I don't know how hard it must be to know that a loved one is going to leave you soon but I'm sure you must be able to provide a great deal of comfort to them and prepare them for what lies ahead.

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Marie Michael 03/01/2012
03/21/2012 8:20pm

Dear Fr.Bill,
Thank you for your blog so wonderfully describing my late husband, yes he was a man with many talents and a very kind heart. Thank you so much for this wonderful rendering of all his attributes

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Lionel Michael
03/21/2012 8:21pm

Dear Fr. Bill,
I was so impressed by your blog that I had to forward it to every friend and relative in every part of the world. I knew my father very well and was inspired by his every action and his every word, but till date I have never put anything down in writing about him. You met him when he was unable to socialize, unable to speak, had you had the opportunity to meet him while he was alive, I believe you could not have said it any better that you already have. You have defined him like I never could myself.
Thank you for this honor.

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