Last night went well...here's the combined thoughts on our parents delivered by E
Magis refers to doing more, for Christ, and therefore doing more or others. It is an expression of an aspiration and inspiration.
Our parents lived this philosophy their whole lives. They were both products of very humble upbringing, our Mom spending several years of her childhood living in the projects while her Dad was hospitalized with tuberculosis. They grew up several streets away from each other in St Patrick's parish in Cleveland. They knew each other as co-presidents of their eighth grade class, but they never dated til college when our Dad finally took his father's advice and "asked out that nice Mary Terese" The rest is history!
Upon his graduation from St Vincent College (Go Bearcats) our Dad followed in his father's footsteps as an insurance agent, the only job he has ever had. He applied his relentless work ethic to the task of building a clientele, and quickly achieved, and built upon, a reputation for honesty, integrity and kindness.
Our Mom, a registered nurse, hung up her cap to take the helm at home, and ran our home like a business. Her structure and organization could have won her military awards. If it was Monday, it was laundry day with meatloaf for dinner. Tuesday was ironing day, with chicken on the table. You could set your watch by it.
Our Mom was our Dad's rock and supported him in every way. The success he achieved in the business world was due, in large part, to the tremendous backing he had at home. Together they raised five children and watched as we all grew and succeeded. They enjoyed vacationing and helping all of us with our children, their grandchildren.
As their child rearing responsibilities eased, they began to focus on charity in earnest. Our Mom was an active member of the Christ Child Society and our Dad became involved in many philanthropic causes. St Ignatius was always at the top of his list. He impressed upon his grandchildren the importance of being men and women for others. He was so proud to watch 10 of his 15 grandchildren graduate from either St Ignatius HS or Jesuit HS in Dallas.
Our parents' philanthropy was often behind the scenes. As George mentioned, our Dad, could he have been here tonight, would not have wanted to be in the limelight. He preferred his generosity to be anonymous. People used to joke that our father was frugal; that he still had his First Communion money. In fact, he had probably donated it, anonymously. Our parents taught us the importance of giving back. To whom much is given, they reminded us, much is expected in return.
So while our parents would not have wanted this type of notoriety, it is still unfortunate that they can't be here tonight. Alzheimer's disease has taken our parents from us. For the past five years we have watched them disappear bit by bit. They are currently living in my home, with full time caregivers. My family bought a home across the street from my sister's family, who lives in the home our parents built. So we are all back on High Pkwy. For the past year we have adapted to life with ever-present Alzheimer's disease.
Our parents are still mobile and still recognize each other and us. they still appreciated seeing our children and old friends. They still attend daily Mass. Their quality of life is the best it can be. And our parents are still teaching us. They are teaching us that Alzheimer's disease is not the end, but a new beginning. Life has changed, not ended. We are all learning valuable lessons about patience, and fortitude and compassion. We are learning to enjoy the present moment. We are learning to laugh at the absurdities of life, especially life with two people afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.
Our faith is being tested. Truly our parents did not deserve this disease. They ate right, they exercised, they saved their money and gave so much away. They deserved a happy retirement. So what does this mean? It has to mean that this life is just a stepping stone to eternal life. We are on a journey and this part is difficult, but the reward for everyone awaits in heaven. The belief in this keeps us going through the rough patches.
Thank you for the opportunity to tell you a little bit about our wonderful parents, T and G, and than you again for bestowing the Magis award upon our family. As the Jesuits say Ad Majorem de gloriam.