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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Crossing the Bar 



Readers who have clicked through to my user profile may have understood that I have been spending nearly all of my time looking after my nonagenarian father over the last several years, and literally 24/7 over the last few months as his health deteriorated. He died peacefully this morning at home.

He loved sailing, and passed that passion on to me; he was also an officer in the U.S. Navy during WWII, serving in the Atlantic theater aboard a Destroyer Escort (which is why I use "Escort" in my nom de plume). Because of his history with the sea, I thought that it might be appropriate to share with you Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Crossing the Bar, which was published only 26 years before my father's birth.
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For through from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
Rest in peace, Dad.

39 Comments:

By Blogger Goldwater's Ghost, at Thu Jan 07, 05:07:00 PM:

I am sorry for your loss. I enjoyed your many posts on his naval experiences.  

By Anonymous Iowa_John, at Thu Jan 07, 05:42:00 PM:

Godspeed.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 07, 05:51:00 PM:

I hope you can take comfort in the fact that he lived a long and healthy life, and was in great company during his final years. We should all be so lucky!  

By Anonymous feeblemind, at Thu Jan 07, 05:57:00 PM:

I am so sorry E-81. We all know Death is a part of life, but that doesn't make it an easier when it comes. I wish I knew the words to ease your sadness, but am just too feeble minded.  

By Anonymous Mr. Ed, at Thu Jan 07, 06:04:00 PM:

Very sorry too and I'm way more feeble minded than feeblemind.

I admire you for caring for your father in the closing times of his life. I learned the importance of that by not doing as good of a job as I should have and by seeing from others how it can be done.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

M.E.  

By Blogger Elise, at Thu Jan 07, 06:26:00 PM:

I'm so sorry for your loss.  

By Blogger Chris, at Thu Jan 07, 06:50:00 PM:

I thank you in your father's place for his service in a very dangerous and underappreciated service. May God comfort you and your family in this time of grief.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Thu Jan 07, 06:51:00 PM:

You have a lifetime of memories which will endure as long as you do, and longer for those you pass on. I never met my great-grandfather, but heard enough stories about him.

I cherish the memorial services for my parents, which connected with people from my childhood and also with stories about my parents.  

By Anonymous Brian Schmidt, at Thu Jan 07, 07:41:00 PM:

Condolences and best wishes to you and your family. I'm sure your caretaking over the years was appreciated and is appreciated.  

By Anonymous J. Davidson, at Thu Jan 07, 08:37:00 PM:

Very sorry to hear of your loss. Fair Winds and Fallow Seas for your Father.  

By Anonymous soxfanscott, at Thu Jan 07, 08:37:00 PM:

Deepest sympathies. I too lost a member of the greatest generation recently. Dad served On the USS Carib, an ocean going tug.
A wish to your Dad....."Well done brother, now cometh rest>"  

By Blogger Donald Douglas, at Thu Jan 07, 08:40:00 PM:

Sorry to hear it, Tiger Hawk. My father passed in 2004. My thoughts and prayers are with you.  

By Blogger SR, at Thu Jan 07, 08:54:00 PM:

I hope you got to read him this poem before he set sail. For my dad and, it was a very emotional experience to read him one of the poems he used to read to me. I'm a little sorry they stuck it into a rugby movie.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu Jan 07, 08:59:00 PM:

Condolences, friend.  

By Blogger Diogenes, at Thu Jan 07, 09:49:00 PM:

May his memory be eternal.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Thu Jan 07, 09:50:00 PM:

There is no good time to lose one's father, but it is wonderful that your's lived such a long life.

Consider the Navy Hymn in his honor:

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep,
Its own appointed limits keep.

Oh hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea! Amen.

Eternal Father, lend Thy grace To
those with wings who fly thro' space,
Thro wind and storm, thro' sun and rain,
Oh bring them safely home again.

Oh Father, hear an humble prayer,
For those in peril in the air! Amen.

Oh Trinity of love and pow'r,
Our brethren shield in danger's hour,
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them where so e'er they go.

Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea! Amen.
 

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 07, 10:42:00 PM:

I'm so sorry for your loss. You sound like a wonderful son who truly cared for his father - a father who served so admirably. I lost my father (a WWII Army vet) 15 years ago and my mother last year at the age of 96. These are losses you never "get over" -- but their memories stay with us. My sincerest condolences.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 07, 10:48:00 PM:

You have my deepest sympathies. My Dad died 23 years ago. Not a day goes by that I don't miss him. He was an officer in the USAR. As my father's doctor told me in 1987, be glad you had a great father to lose.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 07, 11:25:00 PM:

Very sorry for your loss...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 07, 11:58:00 PM:

bless him and his service. and thank you for the insights.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Fri Jan 08, 12:49:00 AM:

My deepest sympathies. While it is very sorrowful right now, I am sure you will be comforted by the fact that your father lived a long and fruitful life.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Fri Jan 08, 12:56:00 AM:

My condolences to you. It sounds like you served each other well. You would not have shown him such extraordinary love and respect had he not raised you with the same regard. The same gift given and received.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 08, 01:35:00 AM:

Hope you did better than I. I let my Dad go without ever telling him how much I loved him. In those times it was not something you said. We were wrong.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Fri Jan 08, 02:14:00 AM:

Please accept our condolences of myself and our family. Losing a father is a difficult time.  

By Blogger Rodger the Real King of France, at Fri Jan 08, 06:30:00 AM:

I'm so sorry. Even after 10 years, not a day goes by that I don't, for a moment, think to ask my own late dad's advice on something. But now there's a sweetness to it.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 08, 08:17:00 AM:

Your father will be with you in spirit for the rest of your own days, as a reward for your close and caring relationship over the years. I hope he is happily at peace, and while i am very sorry for the loss of your friend and father, I hope you too can find some measure of peace in the days and months ahead.  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Fri Jan 08, 08:48:00 AM:

My sympathies - and I also want to offer my admiration for the intensity of the love and care you gave your father.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 08, 09:53:00 AM:

I knew an old salt who like your Dad served on a destroyer during WWII. He would proudly declare that he was part of the "Fighting Navy" whenever anyone inquiried as to his WWII service.  

By Blogger kreiz1, at Fri Jan 08, 10:35:00 AM:

Like so many, my father wasn't a dad- too removed for that. I say it without bitterness- it's just true. No caches of memory or passed wisdom. So for those with close fathers, be grateful; you've been blessed. My response was to be a good dad for my children. It's the best gift I could think of.

TH's tributes to his father are always moving.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 08, 11:02:00 AM:

What a moving tribute to your father. He must have been a wonderful man to have raised such a devoted son. Please accept my sympathy on your loss.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 08, 11:30:00 AM:

Requiem
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Under the wide and starry sky
dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me;
"Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill."

It's been a decades since my father passed, yet hardly a day passes when I don't think of him.
Best regards in this hard time.

David  

By Blogger Bomber Girl, at Fri Jan 08, 11:52:00 AM:

Your tribute to your dad is lovely. Our fathers can give us so much and you seem to have given so much back. I miss my dad, but boy do I remember the things he taught me. My condolences.  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Fri Jan 08, 04:08:00 PM:

Sorry for your loss but thankful for his presence. Your tribute was terrific.

My father died three years ago and the days afterward were, well, the best I could say is disorienting. They still are but less so.

It's one thing to lose our grandparents - all of mine are gone - but losing one's parents is really difficult.

Be strong.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 08, 05:16:00 PM:

I am also saddened by your loss. Although TH himself beat me to the punch, here's a youtube version of Eternal Father. It always makes me tear up when the Mids sing it at the end of the USNA Chapel service.

JLW III  

By Blogger Charlottesvillain, at Fri Jan 08, 09:24:00 PM:

Condolences. He'll live on in you in ways that will surprise you in time.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 08, 10:19:00 PM:

What a lovely tribute to your father. He was blessed to have a son watch over him at the end. I remember a picture of your beautiful mother and handsome father and wondered where they had met. Happy New Year to you.  

By Blogger MissTammy, at Fri Jan 08, 11:13:00 PM:

I'm not as eloquent as the other folks, but please accept my condolences and prayers.  

By Blogger Gerard, at Sat Jan 09, 01:18:00 PM:

I offer my condolences to you and am somewhat comforted that the Lord gathered him peacefully.  

By Blogger Amuk, at Sat Jan 09, 08:37:00 PM:

My heartfelt condolences.  

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