The torch is passed

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The torch is passed

Postby Bill Glasheen » Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:29 pm

This week I am mourning - and celebrating - the passing of my family patriarch. My father's 89-year ride got bumpy towards the end. But thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, I was able to help guide him through to a longer, less painful, and eminently memorable end. This Irishman passed after the season opener of his beloved Red Sox. And with a sense of humor befitting a good Irishman, he passed away in a snoring sleep on April Fool's Day.

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour before
the devil knows you're dead.


As I celebrate this week with my six sisters (4 redhead, 2 blonde), brother, myriad in-laws, out-laws, and kin, I'm finding myself slowly and reluctantly evolving to my own position in the greater family. Nobody told me to take the reigns on my father's health care in his latter years. It's a role I evolved into as other family members contributed their time and love in their own ways. Brother had the finances, one sister provided several years of boarding before I extracted dad and put him into a more intensive care setting, and all family members found their own ways to be good sons, daughters, grandchildren, and nephews. Friends of my dad were welcome in as family members, and they're all in my BlackBerry. I know them all by first name and could call them 24/7 in a pinch.

Was the journey always smooth? Hell no! I know way too much information about my family members. And there were days... But the qualities that got me through those rough times were first a firm grip on the prime directive (dad's wellbeing), a touch of humility, a firm grasp of the situation at hand, an evolving emotional intelligence, a (sometimes shaky) social network around me, and last but not least a good sense of humor. More and more on that last point I'm beginning to understand why so many comedians come from the Jews and the Irish. It's a survival mechanism. It's better than SSRIs.

This in my opinion is a metaphor for how a karate family should live. Those of us who have been here since the very early days of Kanei Uechi et al know that the journey can be alternately joyous and unseemly. We've seen the best and the worst of the brothers and sisters around us. We've had to work very hard focusing on what "the greater good" really is. When one prime directive doesn't make global sense (e.g. a martial system to be run by generations of a single family), others must evolve on the spot. And all this happens in the context of an evolving martial world which is fed by the marketing of sport karate, Hollywood chop suey, and Sensei daycare.

What "it" is and who "we" are is often an overwhelming battle irrespective of the imperfections in character of our peers. At some point, leaders and visionaries need to step forward and create new prime directives which are inclusive enough to give "us" the critical mass we need to perform at optimal levels.

There were days in dealing with my dad where I didn't think I could do it with grace. There are days doing my Uechi where I wonder if this will still be around in a generation or two to any degree. But this I do know. With enough good people, things evolve and people make do. And sometimes the journey takes us places we never expected to be. But if we have faith in ourselves, in process, and in each other, we have the capacity to see and enjoy many new and exciting tomorrows.

- Bill
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Postby Van Canna » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:39 pm

Hi Bill,

My heart felt condolences in the passing of your father.

It is almost as I had come to know him through the interesting life anectodes you related now and then of you two in your growing years. Thankfully he passed on with his beloved family at his side and in blissful sleep.
Death to a good man is but passing through a dark entry, out of one little dusky room of his father's house, into another that is fair and large, lightsome and glorious, and divinely entertaining.
Clarke

He is now free and happy and forever be watching upon you and your family. :cry:
Van
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:11 pm

Thank you, my dear friend.

So where are we after the death of our Uechi fathers? As our martial world has evolved, do you think Uechi Kanei, Shinjo Seiyu, or Toyama Seiko are smiling as they watch upon us?

Are we keeping the ball rolling the way Kanei so artfully kept his father's legacy going?

Are boys becoming men and girls becoming women capable of leading many in exciting new directions in our pluralistic martial world?

- Bill
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Postby mhosea » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:41 pm

The proper thing is to offer my condolences, and I do. However, I am also happy to think that tempering your loss may be a peace of mind that comes from having served your father well in his last years.
Mike
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:48 pm

mhosea wrote:
The proper thing is to offer my condolences, and I do. However, I am also happy to think that tempering your loss may be a peace of mind that comes from having served your father well in his last years.

Very much so. And it was also a blessing knowing we (collectively) gave him 5 of the better years of his life - when he needed us the most.

Bill
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Bill. . .

Postby gmattson » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:55 pm

Sorry for your loss. It was good talking with you today. Looking forward to seeing you again at camp.

Life goes on. . .
Last edited by gmattson on Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
GEM
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Postby Steve Hatfield » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:26 am

I'll add my condolences and tell you you did a wonderful thing for your father in his last years. That's priceless.

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My condolences Bill...

Postby Stevie B » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:22 am

I think that losing a Father or losing even a Father figure is one of the hardest things Men can go through... But I think a good Irish upbringing and trust in God's hand will see you through...
The reason I answered was to say that I am not sure if Seiyu, Kanei, and Toyama Senseis are smiling down from heaven... But I also think that was in their nature in life... If a Karate man is ever happy with himself or the progress of his students or where their own understanding lies, I think they have missed the bus. Take some time to re energize...
I was just speaking to Rick Potrekus Sensei a few hours ago, and he was telling me that he is just now understanding some things that Tosh Sensei taught him so many years ago... So lets all work to a stronger, more disciplined Uechi Ryu!!! Let's pick up the reigns and live up to our different and selective potentials.. Let's take things to the next level!!! Do it for the ones who count on you... Here and in heaven!!! May God bless you and help you through my Friend...
Last edited by Stevie B on Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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So Sorry.

Postby KentuckyUechi » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:03 am

Bill,

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I know that he meant the world to you. And to lose him such a short time after losing a good friend can make it all the tougher. Unfortunately, once again I find we have one more thing in common. About a year before, I lost my brother, I lost an Aunt that raised me, this was after finding out my Step-Dad has stage 4 Lung Cancer. We both know it's not easy, but we also know that each of us, and the world benefitted from all the good things they have shared throughout the years. We are better people for having known them. Your Dad was lucky to have you as well. I wish you and your family the very best during this troubling time.

If you get the chance and want to work out some emotions either through a good workout, or sharing your knowledge at my dojo, feel free. You are always welcome.

Bert
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Postby Van Canna » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:37 am

Bill,

Whenever it is appropriate, if ever, I would love to read some of the many stories I am sure you can relate about you and your father growing up in your neighborhood.

God bless,
Van
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Postby Van Canna » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:39 am

About a year before, I lost my brother, I lost an Aunt that raised me, this was after finding out my Step-Dad has stage 4 Lung Cancer.


Bert,

So sorry to hear this. I can certainly emphatize, believe me. :(
Van
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Postby Panther » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:44 am

:cry: All our love and sympathy... Nothing else to say...
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Postby Kevin Mackie » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:14 pm

Bill, so sorry for your loss.
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Postby Valkenar » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:20 pm

Sorry for your loss, Bill. It sounds like you and your family did a great job handling his illness and bringing as much positivity to his final years as the situation one could hope for. If we could all have someone to take care of us the way you took care of your dad the world would be a nicer place. Good for you, and may you find some solace in remembering the peace of mind your father must have felt in your care.
- Justin Powell
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Postby Jason Rees » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:23 pm

My condolences, Bill, and I commend you for your efforts in your father's twilight years.
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