On Sunday, September 26, my father passed away after years of declining health. Since then I have been numb with sorrow, my appetite gone and my anxiety and stress at unbearable levels. This week is going to be the hardest one of my life as I prepare to move on without my father beside me and cheering me on, whatever my ambition may be.
Tomorrow I will be delivering a eulogy at his funeral service so what better way to collect my thoughts than doing a blog post from the heart as I dig through years of memories of my father. Writing the eulogy was very difficult for me. Delivering it will be even harder.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of my father is his quirky sense of humor. He loved to make people laugh, friends and strangers alike. He had a real talent for walking up to total strangers at the store and chatting with them as if they were lifelong friends. I swear, if he hadn’t worked as an engineer, he would have made one heck of a comedian. I remember one year we were in Chicago at my grandmother’s wake service when my father leaned over to me and said, “You know what I’d like people to hear people say at a funeral? ‘Look, he’s moving!'” He admitted then it was a bad joke but it did much to lighten the mood. That’s what kind of person he was.
And how could I forget his love of boats. I think his tenure with the Merchant Marines ignited that passion. After my father got married and moved to Connecticut to start a new life with his new family, he took up sailing on his trusty Hobie Cat sailboat. After we moved to Florida he bought a power boat he named Second Wind. On Sundays he would take the family out on the boat where we would have a picnic on one of the nearby islands and put in plenty of swimming. One year we went on vacation in the Florida Keys and took the boat from Juno Beach all the way to Key Largo. What a memorable trip that was.
Not long before he retired he bought himself an M-20 Scow, a very fine racing sailboat. We would spend our Saturdays racing other sailboats in Stuart during the weekly beer can race. When the wind caught our sails just right, no one could catch us. I learned so much about sailing from my father and always looked forward to going sailing with him.
Thanks to my father, I got to see some of the most scenic places in the United States and Canada. He would plan family vacations that would later fill pages of photo albums and dominate conversations at the dinner table for years to come. Even towards the end my father was talking about making a return trip to Montreal, one of our favorite places to visit. He really had a desire to see as much of the world as possible, and I hope to continue that desire myself.
I could go on and on about how my father enriched my life with his wisdom and humor. He could be difficult at times, but lessons aplenty were learned albeit the hard way. Towards the end my relationship with him improved to the point where I consider ourselves parted on good terms.
And now here I sit, one week after his passing and the reality still sinking in. It’s never easy losing someone so close to you but I know that someone, somehow my father continues to watch over me and cheer me on. After all, his work shall never be done.
In loving memory of my father Withold John Brazinskas (June 7, 1942 – September 26, 2021)