My father was a Preppie before it was a style…raised in Winchester Massachusetts he attended Loomis boarding school and went to Amherst College. His best friend at college was a guy named Dick Leavitt Jr…the eldest son on a Hospital Administrator who came from a large family in Rye New York. One Christmas, Dick took my Dad, Trevor SMITH, home with him…or maybe it was Thanksgiving…but at any rate, on that visit he met Dick’s older sister, Bonnie Jean. Now, my Mother’s side of the story was a bit different….she used to tell me “My brother Dick would come home…and go on and on saying; ‘.Trevor Smith this and Trevor Smith THAT! ‘…”So I told him…. Why don’t you bring this Trevor Smith HERO home with you sometime!!” So he did…and my Mom met Trevor Smith the Hero and in a little over a year…they were married .
I wrote to my Uncle Dick last Fall and told him that I guess I needed to thank him for my entire existence as it was he who was the link that brought the two people together that made me…back when a link was a human…once upon a time.
My Uncle Dick passed away yesterday. He fought an incredible fight and some may say he lost…but I will always think of him as a winner. He was the kind of guy that looked you in the eye when you were speaking…a gentleman…he loved my Mother dearly and was such a strong force in her life until she died. He was always there for me, though I did not see him nearly as much as I wish…but each time we did cross paths…I left stronger and with a smile on my face.
We live in a weird time, when I can tell you, people whom I may never meet….about someone you probably never met…someone who meant so much to me…and then we carry on. I have experienced a number of great losses in my family over the last 3 months and I have learned so much about who I am…in relation to the world…who I want to be and what it means to be ALIVE.
My Uncle Dick made the most out of every inch of his life…EVERY INCH…and it is not as important how and what he did but that whatever he DID do whether it was to collect stamps or be a Commander in the Navy or love his dog Lucy or be an incredible father to my cousin Vicki or a loving husband to my Aunt Vivian or a protective brother to my Mom…a best friend to my Dad, a golf partner to anyone who had clubs…an Uncle to me…he approached life as an exercise in integrity and grace and anyone who spent time with him…was better for it.
I know…in YOUR lives…you have people like my Uncle Dick…and I hope that you will honor my Uncle’s memory by letting these people know...in person...with a hug or high-five or if they are at a distance..not a text..but a hand written letter…or a card…LET THEM KNOW that they mean something to you. Or tell them about something fun you did…or saw….People do not live forever. No one escapes…and NOW is the time to Love the ones you LOVE…in person…not with a “like” on Facebook…for while I do believe that has some value it is NEVER EVER as good as an IN PERSON handshake or a voice across the miles on the good old fashion phone. THIS is what my Uncle Dick Taught me. And THIS is what I have learned…in losing those I love…WHAT you will miss IS their voice…their hugs…their laughter…even their hand writing…the notes on the refrigerator….you miss THEM.
GOODBYE UNCLE DICK…
Thank for introducing my Mom to my Dad and Thank you of teaching me what it means to be a REALLY GOOD PERSON.