Ten months apart and very different, but both with keen minds and tender hearts….
I love this picture I have of Len cutting in on my dance with Nick…
Today this picture brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face….
I have often thought about what I desired in my relationship with each of them, but this past week I was deeply impacted to hear Nick reflect on his relationship with Len…
His words are full of honesty, sorrow, love and admiration…
I am so proud to have had two wonderful brothers….one who now lives in my heart and the other who I will enjoy for all he adds to my life!
And so again today, I share with you Nick’s remembrance of Len. Pastor Van Dyke incorporated this into Len’s funeral service and they will be words cherished for many years to come.
At the end of the summer of 2001 you asked me if I could go on a dependent’s cruise, taking the submarine from San Diego to Bremerton, WA. As we approached the Straits of Juan de Fuca the sub surfaced and I was able to spend some quality time with my brother on the sail, under the stars, smoking cigars with a glowing wake behind us. I’m pretty sure I told you how cool that was. Once in a lifetime.
We always counted on you to be the one in front. You did the toasts, spoke first, told stories with research, style and enthusiasm. Quick to laugh, cry, criticize and praise. I never met anyone who was like you. No one so willing to be completely different from everyone else with a core commitment to achieve something great. Good work was not good enough if great work was in sight.
The thing I admired most was how you always wanted to act on principle – not task oriented, not accepting of others’ conclusions. Just wanted to break everything down to its elements and wrestle with it until the principles were in tune with your heart and head. I’m sure it made being your boss a pain at times; but that clarity of purpose made you a beacon for those under your command.
We grew up together, 10 months apart. You enlisted in 1982, I enlisted in 1986. You studied Electrical Engineering and I was Mechanical. Our paths crossed on golf courses around the country, family vacations, forced family fun, weddings. Surely we would enjoy more time and reflection together when we retire, right?
I don’t know how to process your passing. I always wanted to be like you but didn’t know how. You frustrated me and your approval soothed me. You led and inspired people and I felt if you had those qualities they must be within my grasp as well. The faults you had, flaws we all share, did not diminish you in my eyes, rather they highlighted the struggle that you welcomed. On principle.
I do not lose all hope in your passing. Your light shines in Marcia, Olivia, Sonta, Noah and Jean Marc. And I stand by them as I know you would have done for ours in other circumstances. Your impact has been incredible, even more evident in the response to your accident. It does not make life seem futile, but certainly uncertain, fleeting.
I will not speak at your funeral service. I need one more day to listen, to adjust to your absence at events where you should do the toast, speak first, tell the story. I will remember you as a leader. My leader. Never comfortable in compromise. Inspiring to those who follow. Always wanting to give more than you had. Huge heart. Imperfect. Relentless. Stubborn. Loved. Missed. Father. Husband. Son.