I wanted to send you a Christmas card this year but, unfortunately, I died. So I’m sending this from beyond the veil. Perhaps the kids will post this on FaceGram, InstaTwit, or TinderTok.
Pat and I are reunited, reminiscing about the old times. (Read: “Michael! What took you so long???”)
I spent my childhood shoeless with six siblings — swimming, canoeing, and crabbing on the banks of the Severn River. Our house inspired shabby chic, with a central fireplace for heating and a singular bathroom in the basement.
When I met Pat it was love at first sight, followed by marriage in January 1966, which was bliss… until Keith showed up in December. In for a penny, in for a pound, so Tara and Tobin followed.
How to support a growing family? I chose a profession perfectly suited to a SUNY philosophy degree: Insurance. The word “insurance” is derived from the Latin “metro northus requiem,” loosely translated as “run like hell to catch the train.”
I was the Risk Manager for the largest insurance brokerage firm in the world. I’m not sure exactly what I was meant to do, but I ended up buying a lot of insurance and solving capacity crises. When I established the Epsilon captive I received high praise such as “How do you pronounce that?” and “WTF is this thing?” I’m the only Risk Manager known to repeatedly settle complex claims using metaphysics.
Pat and I made our way through Levittown and Princeton Junction, then decided to go for broke, buying a dilapidated dog kennel in Wilton, CT. (No, we didn’t own a dog at the time.) Pat saw promise; I saw multiple bathrooms. Win/win!
Construction, chain saws, celebrations, cooking, caring, and community defined that home through five fun-filled decades and seven remodels. I cherished every second.
Despite the demands of global travel, I was present for every important family milestone: births, sports, recitals, plays, holidays, marriages, root canals, and hip surgeries. Well into my dotage, I maintained a connected family. It is my greatest achievement.
Heaven is great. I have bumped into many of my Marsh friends up here. They keep thanking me for all of my efforts, particularly after 9/11. It’s a bit embarrassing, really, but I guess I did right by them. Pat keeps me humble.
Lots of people here speak Latin and Greek so my fluency has returned. I’ve started a book club and I’m teaching St. Nicholas how to make cheesecake in an Instapot. The skiing is epic — no lift lines! That said, I prefer golf, a sport where you can drink martinis instead of sweating. (You gotta try the course here — always a hole-in-one!)
Celestial existence has its perks, like turning water into wine. The wifi sucks, but Amex concierge service still works and I’m no longer colorblind.
I miss Silvermine, long walks in the snow, felling trees, warm fireplaces, winters in Pompano, trips to Disney, cruises, and parties at 60 Borglum. But mostly I miss family and friends. You all made Earthly life meaningful.
Having a background in theology, and currently residing among the seraphim, I appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. But I cannot tell you what it is (trade secret; patent pending). Instead, let me send love to all of you for the Holidays, and offer these simple words of advice:
- Stay kind and true to what matters
- Apply logic and solutions will follow
- Use power to help others
- Always put family first
- Vinegar cleans everything
I’ve asked the kids to skip the wake and instead host a celebration of life this coming summer. They will share details with you directly.
Until then, Merry Christmas, and with love from beyond,
PS — In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Wilton’s Special Education Network (SPED*NET), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping parents of children with special needs become their children’s best advocates.
See you on the other side!