Had my father lived past age 58, he would be 80 today. That seems very old to me because I haven’t watched him age—the one benefit of dying young is that he remains forever a younger man.
I followed in my father’s field of magazine marketing. He taught me skills that he knew innately, and introduced me to other smart people in the business. The loss of his wisdom made me doubly bereft. Yet his legacy lived on through the memories of so many people he had touched. Like many fields, magazine media is a small world. With some frequency I would encounter someone who would repeat my last name and say “you’re not related to…?” When I answered “yes” I would be regaled with a story of my father’s cleverness or his kindness.
At a summer internship on The Shoreline Times newspaper, I was asked to write a fluff piece about how I wanted to be remembered. In retrospect this seems especially frivolous because I had just completed my freshman year of college and had little life experience to reflect upon. My answer though would probably be the same now: I wanted to have made some positive difference to people’s lives. At the time I didn’t appreciate that my father had been doing just that. Throughout his too short life he made a big difference to many people, and his actions have brought me much solace.