I thought I had cried every tear there was to cry, however when I read this note of remembrance of my dad written by my cousin, Daniel Mushegian, I found there were still some not yet shed. Thank you Dan
It was the anniversary of his passing last week. I think of him probably almost every day, as I have for years. As a child, I admired that great deep voice and calming but dominating presence. Later, as a young man trying my own hand at the ministry, at the age of only 15 he offered me the opportunity to conduct a series of revival services for the youth of his church. That was in 1958. I am certain that was the first time I heard him sing, “If I can help somebody.” That song and his charming love for me have provided a touchstone in my life that nothing could ever replace.
I have lived away from my Uncle and his family for most of my life. Now, I live in Florida. A year of so before he left us, one Saturday evening, I looked at my wife and said, “We don’t have any commitments tomorrow. I am going to get up early and fly to Atlanta to see my Uncle Harry.” And I did. I had not seen him of over 30 years, but he was the same. We spent the day together before I flew back home that night. Some the best hours of my 72 years!
While we visited, I told him that I had wanted to see him before he passed from this earth. I told him that while of course I might want to come to his funeral, I more wanted to visit with him. He looked at me and said, “Son” in that deep, ever commanding voice, “It’s a good thing you did that, because I have told my family that I do not want a funeral when I die.”
I protested. I said, “Uncle, there will be so many people who will want to celebrate your life and remember you and mourn you. How can you deny them that opportunity?”
His response: “I do not want a big whoop dee doo when I die. Do you see that door over there?” We were sitting at his kitchen table as he pointed towards the Front Door of the house. He continued: “If someone wants to see me and remember me and celebrate me, let them knock on that door. That’s what you did today. You didn’t have to come here, but you did. That door is always open. I assure you that I will let in anyone who knocks on it. I don’t want to be remembered by a bunch of people who show up to be seen among those who have cared for me. If they want to remember me, let them knock on that door.
I have head from my cousins that there were those among their congregation who objected to there not being a funeral or other memorial service. May I assure them that my Uncle Harry’s choice was clear? Maybe they should have knocked on that door.