It is with a deep breath that I stand before you in an effort to comprehend the enigma that is my father. I did not know him well. I love him deeply.

What remains now, in the wake of the time he spent among us, is a gap. With what are we, the living, to fill that gap? Certainly with grief and I thank all of you for coming here today to share in that grief.

My Dad was scared and my Dad was lonely. He was scared of being rejected by those whom he loved or respected so he postured himself for acceptance; thus he was lonely because his true self got left out in the process.

My father could not bridge the gap carved out by his fear — and filled with his loneliness — by honestly living true to the demands of his heart. Facing the threat of rejection was too much. So he missed out on a lot of love. And we missed out on him.

As his son, I have learned that no risk can be too great to take if the alternative means being stuck and enmired in cowardice that kills me. I have learned that doing my best to tell the truth, to be honest, counts most when I face myself, and then make myself face out. I recognize that it is important to favor myself, but neither too much nor too little.

I have learned that all faces are masks and that men and women tend to abuse power rather than expose their human vulnerability. Thus, I believe that a cool mind, warm heart, brave spirit and true tongue are the ingredients necessary for a healthy life and a better world.

As my Dad got sick and approached his final days and then, his final hours, all of us camped out with him at the hospice on Diamond Street. Someone was always with him, holding his hand, practically counting his laboring breaths. As my father approached death, we, the living, grew closer forging stronger bonds.

As I see it, my father's legacy is us, his family. We have the internal wherewithal to learn how to be more honest with ourselves and with one another, the result being acceptance, compassion and empathy. The kindness, candor, gentleness and warmth that we can share does not arise out of a vacuum. It is part of our human spirit that God and Dad passed on to us.

I close with words of a Native American:

Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because  without it we become weak and faint. Without love our self- esteem weakens. Without it our courage fails. Without love we can no longer look out confidently at the world. We turn inward and begin to feed upon our own personalities, and little by little we destroy ourselves. With it we are creative. With it we march tirelessly. With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others.

Thank you for loving my father while he was alive and joining us today to pay tribute to him now that he has passed on.


Ford Greene
Ford Greene
August 4, 1994



Hub Law Offices 711 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo, California 94960-1949 415-258-0360 ford@fordgreene.com