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FJR, a tribute to our Dad

Updated: Mar 29

Three years ago, my father, Frank J. Rizzo III, died. As the world was reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, our family said "so long" to our patriarch. Due to the overwhelming circumstances, we never formally published an obituary. However, his memory is far too precious to leave unacknowledged.

Now, three years later, we have an obituary. It's a way to share his story with the world. He lived a life. He was a good man, kind, generous, warm, honest, loving, forgiving, stubborn, flawed, and complex like most of us. Dad wouldn't have cared about the timeline, and our love for him was never in question. As his daughter, I was fortunate to be with him in his final moments, but he touched countless lives, and many people never got to say goodbye.

Perhaps this obituary is part of my grief process, a way to wrestle with the ever-present reality I still feel being an orphan, the loss of both parents and the "secondary losses," as they're called,  that come with families changing, and growing in different directions over time.

Secondary losses often sneak up unexpectedly, stirring up new waves of grief in surprising ways. When my father died, we sold my parent's home. This home served as the heart of family life, bustling with lively, joyous chaos of laughter and the warmth of familiar voices. Departing that space for the last time, echoing with memories, felt like a physical manifestation of loss. I sensed I had finally comprehended the profound impact of the love shared within those walls (and in all the homes that came before). The warmth and love nurtured under its roof was a sacred refuge where I connected with my family. 

While I'm incredibly grateful for the time I shared with both my parents, their absence leaves an undeniable ache in my heart. They lived full lives and instilled in me the importance of love, connection, and kindness. I miss the comfort of their presence – my Dad's genuine interest in my work, his stories about history and current events, and his simple yet profound question, "Do you need anything?" Even though the answer was always no, the feeling of safety and unwavering support resonated most. I miss the twinkle in Mom's eyes, a quiet language of love that spoke volumes. I miss the smell of her cooking, her voice on the phone, and the sweetness of her smile. Above all, I miss the love that radiated from them simply because I was their daughter, and knowing that nothing could ever change, that feeling remains a precious memory.

This obituary isn't just about my father. It's a testament to the enduring love and legacy he leaves behind. It's for everyone who loved him, those who need to remember, and anyone navigating the complexities of grief. Remember, there's always time to honor those we love, no matter how long it takes.

a couple hugging on their 50th wedding anniversary
Mom and Dad on their 50th wedding anniversary

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1 Comment

Beautiful tribute. Thanks for sharing.

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