While some knew him as Jonah and others as Mac, we all loved and respected him. And we miss him dearly.

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Father’s Day II

Dear Jonah Maccabee,

A year ago, I was in Buffalo, NY, for Father’s Day. I’d gone there for a wedding but my heart was pretty squarely with you and the University at Buffalo where you’d died. It had been little more than three months since we’d lost you.

My second Father’s Day took place in two locations.

Part one. Mom and I drove to Lenox, Massachusetts, for the wedding of a young woman she’d known since the girl’s birth. I know her too but not well, and only met her groom the night before. So while I was fully expecting mom to cry as she watched her friend, the daughter of one of her very best friends, walk down that aisle, I wasn’t at all prepared for my own tears. It was an emotional sneak attack. As I observed this young man, squeezed between his mother and father, awkwardly making his way through the gathered congregation (because no matter how wide these aisles are, grooms never seem to be able to make this walk with much gracefulness), I felt the tears begin. You were with me. At this wedding. Because you’d not be at one of your own. You’d not awkwardly walk a wedding aisle. You’d not be held on either side by mom and me. We’d not cry the tears of parents joyfully releasing their older son into a bright, loving future.

Part two. Later that evening. About three minutes after arriving back home. Katie and Aiden pulled out two big boxes and presented them to me in our family room, with mom looking on. The first gift was a digital picture frame for my Study at the temple. Perfect. Can’t ever have too many pictures (tho this one is limited to a mere thousand). The second gift was “the cheese plate.” Of course. Also perfect. You remember the cheese plate, a gag gift that’s been passed around our family since its arrival maybe seven or eight years ago. I can’t remember who got it first, but since then, whoever’s had it has selected an opportune moment to wrap it and re-gift it to some unsuspecting sap, most often met with a groan or a laugh or both (you usually groaned, but that didn’t stop you from passing it along to the next person). The last time you’d received it was when Aiden gave it to you for your high school graduation in 2008. You later presented it to mom during your last Hanukkah with us. Mom gave it to Aiden for his birthday in 2009. Aiden gave it to Katie this past Hanukkah. And now it’s come to me for Father’s Day, and is mine to decide who the next recipient will be.

Before heading off to the wedding, mom had said to friends of ours, “There’s still so much blessing, so much goodness in our lives.” And she’s right. What’s missing – you – will likely bring tears forever. But what’s so abundantly present – the blessings of your sister and your brother, and the love I share with mom – shine as resplendent as ever. These two, now necessary, ingredients in the recipe of our lives, stand side-by-side each day. And this Father’s Day I am poignantly reminded how lucky I am that, having lost so much, my life is still so very rich.

Love you forever,

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