First post in a week... my father died last Tuesday after a long litany of various illnesses. He had been living in Florida for the last ten years or so, but came up to New York for a meeting with colleagues. He taught online courses for a small private college in the Hudson Valley, and his department is in the midst of a re-accreditation process under a new dean. My aunt (who has been a great source of strength for the whole family) and I transported him to the meeting, where he asked the tough questions that younger faculty members were unwilling to ask. He died on December 15, in his sleep, in the ancestral home in the Bronx, which had been built by his grandfather.
After a decade as a patient, he spent his last day as a doctor. He went with his pride intact, which was the best outcome a man as ill as he had been can expect.
My mother, three brothers, and sister all came for the funeral from various locales. Although unplanned, we were together for the holidays for the first time in years. All of my dad's surviving siblings (my uncle James died last year) and three generations of cousins all attended the wake, funeral, and interment. A contingent of family and personal friends also showed up to provide moral support, for which I am grateful.
I also had a profound sense of context as a result of the week's events, which occurred in a geographic location which has shaped my outlook in many ways, and were attended by individuals who represented all stages of my life, whether family, family friends, or personal friends. Even persons I didn't know, who had been my father's former classmates, former students, or former colleagues, helped me to better understand my personal history, and place in this world.