My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
-- William Wadsworth, 1802
None but those in a family know the exact mix of permission and discipline, love and anger, hope and despair that were the ingredients in the making of a man. Even in the knowing there is no accounting. This did this and that that.
All that can be said is that a son or daughter, through some process of individual alchemy that in instances seems capable of turning lead to gold, becomes a person in whom the world finds worth, or not.
To this world, whatever was the sorcerers' blend of Theodore and Marie brought a child that is a gulp of pure free air to those gasping for the lack of it. He is not all things to all people by far, your Keith. He is enough to enough though. For many he is, and through him, all we know of you. Even just in this, we must imagine that it would have been a happy thing to know you.
In my own parents I knew the secret souls to which they'd seldom testify. That is the true gift a parent gives, no lecture or codicil. That is the gift of knowing someone so well as one knows a parent, to see them as they may not even be able to see themselves. It is a gift that can't be given, can't be shared except through a shadow theater of self, it can't be forgotten, and is the thing of which we think in the moment of our most mortal hopes and fears. On this foundation is built a human.
Again, thank you, and farewell.