For anyone who knows me, I've never been a big fan of the holiday season. It's taken on a bit more of a personal flavor this year with a pretty unhappy pair of losses over the last 2 months.
On Nov. 5th, my dad, Ken Converse, passed away. He was 88.
He was a kind and gentle soul. The youngest of 8 kids raised during the depression by only his mother, a widow, and the mean streets of Pipestone, S. Dakota. He served in the Navy in WWII and was in the fleet that was present when Japan signed the surrender. He met my mom while skating (he was, at the time, a bit like a skateboarder would be today in his youth) and asked her to marry him while working at a dairy where they both ended up at during the same period (he was, for a short time a milkman..yep, for reals). That's not where his real interest lay though. While in the Navy, he became an electrician's mate and, for most of his professional life, he was the equivalent of an un-degreed engineer everywhere he worked. He spent most of his working life (30+ years) at IBM in various positions and lived a long and happy life with my Mom, Betty Converse, who's, thankfully, still with us and in reasonably good health.
A day before Christmas, my brother Craig died after a surgery that he hoped would end the pain and possibly help repair the damage done to his spinal cord in a car accident 9 years ago that made him a near quadriplegic. He was 53.
Craig was a huge man, in both physical size and in the size of his heart. At 6'6" and weighing in at 250-300lbs most of his life, it was hard to call him my "little" brother. I did call him my less infinitely wise and younger brother as often as I could though, much to his (feigned) chagrin. He was, like our dad, a gentle soul. An architect by training, deep down, his real nature was that of an artist. A very good one at that. He spent the last several years of his professional life designing schools and involved with educational institutions before the accident. His lovely wife Kate took excellent care of him until the end, making his life as good as it could be given the circumstances. She will always be a part of our family.
I miss my Dad and my Brother, both, terribly.
Treasure your family and friends. In the end, they're really all that matter.