If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one;
If I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation,
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
Would not distemper the great lucid skies
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.
If I can take the dark with open eyes
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(For love itself may need a time of sleep),
And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure - if I can let you go.
The last act of kindness that my grandfather showed me was to purchase and provide me a plane ticket to fly back to Rhode Island to see my great grandmother Eleanor, who was dying. He believed that being with her on her death-bed was something that I needed for my journey. He knew that sitting with her, listening to stories and observing the process of dying would feed my soul in new ways. Those few days were joyful, healing and truly special. This was a tremendous gift to me. He had a way of knowing what I needed, always seeing the opportunities for rites of passage. This was no exception. When I returned home from Rhode Island I called my mom from the airport and asked if she would take me out to visit my grandparents the next day. Although we were both tired, we went. My brother Noah joined us and we spent time laughing, telling stories, and just listening. When we left them there were repeated hugs and “I love you’s”. Grandpa died roughly 36 hours later. His gift to me transformed into an opportunity to say goodbye to him as well, because in being with my great grandmother, I developed a deeper appreciation and understanding for my elders.
Part of my intent in going out to see him that night was to thank him for sending me. My last memories of him alive are of a sparkling smile, joyful belly laugh and the words “I love you”. That I was able to wrap my arms around him and tell him I loved him, is a great comfort to me. I truly hope he knows how much we all loved and appreciated him. I hope he left this world with a full heart.
On behalf of my brothers Noah and Mason, cousins Kali, Annelyse and Calista, I would like to tell you that our grandfather was a precious man. He believed in our capacity to do anything, saw each of our unique gifts and worked hard to provide us with opportunities for growth and exploration. He was a loving man, with a big heart and we know that we shared him with many other children. We would like to acknowledge anyone here today who feels that special connection to our grandfather. He is yours too and we acknowledge that to him, we are all family.
Grandfathers Are Fathers Who Are Grand
-- A poem recited by the grandchildren at the memorial
Grandfathers are fathers who are grand,
Restoring the sense that our most precious things
Are those that do not change much over time.
No love of childhood is more sublime,
giving on demand,
Far more inclined than most to grant the wings
Allowing us to reach enchanted lands.
Though grandfathers must serve as second fathers,
Helping out with young and restless hearts,
Each has all the patience wisdom brings,
Remembering our passions more than others,
Soothing us with old and well-honed arts.
~ Author Unknown ~
Stan on You Tube
To see a portion of an interview Stan did about the Rite of Passage Journeys program, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLvAXtH6BKw
To see and hear the singing of the Irish Blessing at Stan's Memorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koKSBPWZDOQ&NR=1