A father holds a very special and unique place in the life and heart of a son. One of the primary influences in my life, my dad played a major role in shaping the person I became and the man I am today. He imbued in me a pervasive love of animals that has become one of the graces in my life, which has been blessed with the companionship of many animal friends. For this I am grateful. My babies and I will miss him.
Dad and Mom taught me to read before I began school, planting the seeds of a life-long love affair with books and the written word that continues today. The desire to learn, to understand, to ask "why" and to seek answers and solutions to problems grew from these early experiences and has sustained my life ever since. For this I am grateful.
Dad paid great attention to detail, sometimes to the point of distraction. However, this taught me to see the beauty of the underlying structure, the framework, the blueprints of life experiences, and to use that awareness to understand the interdependence of all aspects of life, not just the superficial or the obvious. This has helped shape both my personal and professional lives, and has aided me in my quest to help others in their own lives and those of their families. For this I am grateful.
Taking a dim view of organized ritual and philosophy, Dad never accepted things because he was told to or because it was "right". He strove to discover his own truths, whether or not others agreed with him. This independence of thought, this reliance on individual and self-directed learning and discovery opened my mind to science and has helped me keep an open mind in the face of dogma and societal expectations of what is and is not acceptable. This has helped teach me the strength of personal will and self-acceptance which has sustained me through many tests and travails. For this I am grateful.
My father's legacy to me is rich, deep and varied. He was a complex man, sometimes a confusing and emotionally ambivalent presence in my life. His impact and the ripples of effects he had and continues to have in my life have helped make me the person I am today and the man I will be tomorrow. For his gift of life, for his love, for many of his examples, for these things I am grateful.