Saturday, August 19, 2006

He Was A Man, Taken For All In All...

"He was a man, taken for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again".

This passage from Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' (Act I, Scene II) crossed my mind this past week. It reminded me of my Dad.

It's been several yrs since his passing, and I still have dreams about the man. I still miss seeing him. I still get sad when I dwell upon his passing. I guess that's a good thing, in a bittersweet kinda way?

Sometimes, I compare my life to his. By my age, he had endured a relatively poor childhood. He had already worked during The Great Depression to support his family when he was a teenager, while struggling thru school. He volunteered for military service before the War came, and fought in some of the most important battles, both in the Pacific and in Europe.

And to all the anti-Nukes crowd out there, you will NEVER convince me otherwise from the fact that the Atomic bombing of Japan to end WWII saved more lives -- Japanese and American -- than it took. Probably including my Dad's. Therefore, mine as well.

By my age, he had long since married, was raising a large & still growing family; supported it with lots of long shifts in the freezing cold of snow & wind, and not much sleep. But never any grumblings or complaints. When Dad was my age, I had still yet to be born.

As I remembered that line from Shakespeare, I remembered my Dad, & measured my life thus lived at my current age vs. his... and I came up with a life by comparison as being barely lived, and muchly wasted. And I wonder, would he tell me to stop moping around, and do something about the things I need to change & correct? I'm sure he would.

"'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father.
But you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow. But to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven;
A heart unfortified; a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschool'd...'"

Despite all of my supposed smarts, I really haven't learned much -- truly, mine is "A heart unfortified; a mind impatient, an understanding simple and unschool'd". It is pretty much a given that I shall leave behind no offspring to remember me -- altho, as I mentioned earlier, when Dad was as old as I am now, I hadn't yet been born. So, I guess there's still that outside chance. (I'm not, however, betting on it). But when I am looked back upon by anyone, will they shake their heads at the life that could've been? Or will they say of me:

"He was a man, taken for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again."


  1. I appreciate this posting that you made. I lost my mother several years ago and was filled with rage for quite some time; much like Hamlet was. I'm trying to understand how to fortify my heart and earn God's favor. I hope that my life will have value to humanity.

  2. A beautiful post. There is something both sad but beautiful in the tragedy we experience. Something sublimely physical about catharsis.

    I think sometimes about the family that we lost in WWII, and how much they had to endure, compared to our present situation. It provides a sense of renewed vigor, a passion to experience life in ways they didn't have the chance to.

    Life is, as James said, in the doings and makings and sufferings. If only for the sake of solidarity, I like to think that I live with them in my heart, and carrying them provides some responsibility and motivation to keep on doing and making and suffering.