For me this loss became both difficult and complex. I had been there with Kelly and her family for a good part of the year and half that Mr. McCormick struggled with a terrible and invasive illness. Then when he passed and I felt like I wanted to be there the most, I couldn't. I had to stay here and wait for Cecily's birth. That lack of closure, that inability to help or be supportive has caused me turmoil over the past year. When I measure Cecily's time in our lives, I also reflect on the time that this family has been without their father/husband/grandfather.
Over the past few weeks, I have spent time at night thinking about writing a sort of tribute to Mr. McCormick saying the things I wish I could before this time. I know that my words won't have the eloquence of a tribute he is deserving of, but I hope they share in part the impact he has had on my life. So this is my attempt.
I first encountered Mr. McCormick when I was just a preschooler and for the first few years after that my encounters were mostly had from behind Kelly. She was my voice as I was shy and spent lots of time peeking from behind her or at least that is how my memory plays it out. As far as looks go, he could have been very intimating if his demeanor was not so gentle right from the start. Of course never did he intimidate us kids. He always called me Lins, a simple action that spoke to me on so many levels. Mr. McCormick was a hands on dad in a time when many were not. Not only did he spend that time with his own children, but spread his time and care towards other children in our neighborhood. I got to be a part of these moments, like the day we picked up the family mini van having all us neighborhood kids in tow. Taking a family trip to the shore was also a special memory for us. He loved his kids and spoiled his only daughter especially.
He showed me what a husband should be by the way he cared so deeply and consistently for Mrs. McCormick. Her dedication for him as well was so evident with the care she gave to him in the last months of his life. He had a great sense of humor and was a fast friend to many. The type of guy you could sit by at a wedding not knowing and instantly feel comfortable. He had a way of connecting with people.
I have only touched on a few of his wonderful attributes and I could go on. I had more than 30 years of having him in my life. It makes my heart ache that Mr. McCormick won't get to be that hands on Pop Pop that he could have been. He fought a tough fight, holding on for so long and struggling through so much pain just to spend that one more day with his family. When I think of him, I think family. Though he is gone, I know he lives on. He has shown me how to be a parent and a good spouse and I know I am not the only one that has had his influence so directly and greatly impact my life. Its' been a year that he is gone, but then he is not gone. He lives on in his family, his friends and all the people that his life has touched. His grandchildren will know his spirit through the way his children will pass on his loving example as parents. In a time where we idolize the famous, we must instead remember the most important heroes in our lives. These are the people that whose examples shape who we are and in turn shape how we raise our families. Mr. McCormick not only was a hero to me, he still is and I will remember his impact on my life forever.