Has anybody here seen my old friend Harry?

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Robert and Judy Crimmins on Notre Dame campus May 2014

Has anybody here seen my old friend Harry? He’s right here.

As I am writing this, I am sad. Not a little sad, as in I am having a bad day, but overwhelmingly sad to say goodbye to my father.

I have written in the past about the journey of saying goodbye to a parent, the difficulty and the many issues in watching a parent struggle in the end. So this post will be about a very personal issue about the loss of my father in law. But instead of writing about the “loss” of my father, I would rather discuss all that I have gained from having a father like Robert Crimmins.

The best thing I can say about my life is that I fell in love with my husband Dan. But little did I know that I would gain a much needed father in my life. The minute I met my father in law I knew that I was in the presence of someone unique. The immediate feeling of acceptance and overwhelming calm is one that I cannot explain.

That is not to say that marrying into the “Crimmins Clan” was an easy feat. There were bumps along the way. The infamous volleyball game in which my father in law spiked the ball at my head in the search of victory holds foremost in my mind. And the complete astonishment that after the game, the majority of Crimmins’ would be laughing over a Bud Light. Or the time that I left my first born for a two night vacation in Montauk, NY and left a long handwritten guide to how to care for my 15 month old child. As we called in to check on my daughter Kathryn, I was so kindly told by my father in law that my intense instructions were thrown away. As if a father of nine needed the instructions of a crazy first time parent.

But I look back with great fondness of these experiences. He seemed to understand what each person needed and never made me feel as I often do, as an orphan unworthy of the love of a parent. He accepted me. For all that I was, never demanding that I be more than I was able to give. He loved me, not just because I loved his son, but for the person that I was. Lost and convinced that I just wasn’t the type that needed a parent’s love; it was a struggle to accept all that was given.

His unassuming way to accept you for what you were and what you were able to share made you feel worthy of his attention. And this is not to say that I was unique to these feelings. I believe that this is how he made most people feel. Not just those in the “clan”, but all those who he interacted with.

Such an overwhelming ability to have, but one not lost on my father in law. He made all those in his presence feel at ease. And one can only aspire to be such a person.

I would be amiss to not discuss my gratitude for being such a wonderful grandfather. He gave my daughters the unconditional love that every child deserves. Not for what they do, but more for who they are. The success of my daughters will be attributed to the unconditional love of their grandparents and the knowledge that they are special and that the gifts that they have are worthy to share with the world.

I can remember when one of my daughters left the room, and he stated “Wow, you got to watch that one, she’s going to be something” in such a loving way. It made you feel that you had done something right in your parenting and that someone loved them as much as you did. And he did. What a wonderful gift for all of his grandchildren.

Your joy was his joy. From the exciting trips to Disney and Hershey Park, he relished the ability to make the family happy. I can remember his laughter from the numerous times at Woodloch Springs, the house he purchased to have the entire family gather together, the early morning pancakes that he would make for hours, and the story time in his chair to those who gathered at his feet. And the favorite game of “Has anybody here seen my old friend Harry?” as all would wait with anticipation at their name being called out to shout quickly “Here”. I can remember his complete enjoyment and tears of laughter as the toy boy (whom he named Harry) would be called out and he would utter “here”! So many wonderful memories for all of us!

He truly was a great man, a great husband, a great father, a great grandfather and wonderful friend.

What a gift the world has been given. And for that we are all truly blessed to have known Robert Crimmins. May he rest in peace until we see him again.

About Maureen Crimmins

Maureen Crimmins is co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management and a fee-only independent financial advisor. Have a financial question? ASK MAUREEN

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