In honor of Father’s Day Weekend, we are sharing a story about our Dad. This story is from his friend, Bob Pellegrino.
My wife Dale very unexpectedly passed away almost six years ago. We were supposed to move into a new house we had built the day after she passed. My son Michael’s wedding was supposed to be the next weekend. I had advised my company that I would retire the following summer (we had made plans for our retirement years together). Needless to say I was devastated.
We had been friends with Bill for nearly 20 years, having been St X parents at the same time. Bill & I were on the athletic booster board together and my son Michael played basketball with Bill’s son Jack. Bill was also our attorney and had done our estate planning. Dale felt very close to Bill as they were the same age.
Bill called me about a month after Dale’s funeral and asked me to have lunch. I was still not in a good place, but I decided to go. We met at a restaurant at The Banks. Bill asked how I was and what was I doing beside working. I told him that I was trying to stay close to my sons and their families and seeing friends. Bill suggested I go back to working out at the gym and establish a few new goals; he mentioned getting involved with a charity – which I did and continue to do. Bill also suggested I plan an activity that I always wanted to do, which turned out to be a couple of hiking trips.
Each time our conversation drifted back to Dale, my emotions got the best of me and I would start crying. It was time for lunch to end, but Bill suggested we take a walk through Sawyer Point. We did and Bill started asking questions about Dale’s life. We talked about how Dale and I met (in college), her work (the Federal Reserve bank), her activities (tennis and women’s clubs), our kids, our many trips together, and the whole arc of our life. He asked about funny things that happened to us and our warmest memories.
After walking around for three hours, we were smiling and laughing about Dale and our life together. He then said that it was OK to be sad, but that I should have no regrets. He paraphrased the movie title and said “You see Bob, you and Dale had A Wonderful Life.”
I remember that day like it was yesterday, walking and talking together, sitting and watching the river, and how very kind and helpful he was to me. He sacrificed an entire day out of a busy life to find out how I was and get me on the right track.
It makes me think of how well a life that Bill lived, and how much he mattered to so many. When I learned that he was going to pass, I prayed to Dale to be one of the first to welcome him to Heaven. I asked her to take a walk with him to find out how he was doing and ask him to tell her the stories of his life. I know that they laughed and smiled together knowing they mattered to so many and brought happiness to everyone that knew them. Bill is the finest person I have ever met. I will carry his sprit in my heart for the rest of my days.