It's hard to take in that the center of our family is now gone. Dad passed away 10 days ago. I'm reeling from the rupture his absence has created. I never imagined that the loss of the second parent could feel so devastating. As grateful that I am to have three siblings, not one of us can take his place. It's not meant to be.
This is a difficult post to write, yet I want to acknowledge what there is to celebrate about this generous Irishman who graced the earth for 83 years. What follows is an excerpted version of a poem I wrote for him on his 70th birthday, edited to reflect his current passing.
CHARLIE DUNN - AN IRISH SPIRIT
What is an "Irish spirit?" you ask.
Such a element defies definition.
Squeezing it into words is as elusive as
capturing rays of sunlight in your hand.
And yet it's there . . . you can feel it, sense it.
It made up the essence of Charlie Dunn.
The Irish spirit dwells only in those who cherish and foster it -
Yes, someone like Charlie.
His youthful Irish spirit was idealistic, hopeful,
The year weathered his Irish spirit,
but did not tame it.
The cynicism of the world did not mar its gleam.
This Irish spirit . . . how could it be that
he experienced the world as an adult,
yet enjoyed it with the abandon of a child in play?
Perhaps an Irish spirit is not a hothouse flower
to be carefully tended and protected,
but is destined to grow and thrive
even in adversity and darkness.
Charlie's Irish spirit believed in helping,
cheering, toasting, loving, celebrating - Life!
At this final chapter, Charlie's soul
proceeds ahead of him to sing to the
angels of his robush Irish spirit, while
St. Patrick greets him at the gate.
There is much to ponder about the Irish spirit.
There is much to celebrate about Charlie Dunn.
May his example continue
to illuminate our imaginations,
and remind us to live our lives in the light of
generosity, expansiveness, and faith.
We Miss You, Papa!