Sunday, April 17, 2005

Earle P. Lowell (1930-2005)

Earle_and_Betty


In May, 2004, my father and stepmother flew out to Colorado to see me get my Ph.D. I hadn't seen him in several years so it was wonderful to spend a few days with him. After the graduation we went up to the YMCA of the Rockies -- a huge, and beautiful resort-like place just outside of Estes Park, Colorado -- and I snapped this picture of Dad and Betty standing on the front steps of the main administration building just drinking in the scenery. Since many of you don't know him, you won't recognize his expression as "broad smile" -- that confuses a lot of people.

Last month, he and my stepmother were on a 2-week cruise in the Caribbean. They had a grand time. I talked to him about it on the phone two weeks ago. It was a nice call. A couple days later he was in the hospital with pneumonia and last night he passed away.

I debated making a post on it. The rather macabre image of wearing a black "I'm blogging this" t-shirt to the funeral ... but as you can see, I decided that I needed to post something to honor his passing.

He loved the sea. I think the old Lowell blood called to him -- back a few generations we were fishers and farmers along the central coast. For many summers he worked as crew for a cousin on a charter boat on the weekends, coming home sunburned and calmed. Eventually, circumstances permitted his getting his own boat and he loved spending time puttering up and down the coast in it.

He was one of those quiet guys you find in Coastal Maine. Independant, self-reliant. Ok ... stubborn. He was a quiet, gentle, self-effacing guy. When he did say something, it was usually something worthwhile. When I was a teen, I went to work with him in the factory in the summer. I learned a lot about work and about him and about the questions one needs to ask about becoming whatever it is one becomes.

People outside the family don't understand us very well. We don't talk much. I talked to my dad on the phone 3 or 4 times a year. I haven't talked to my brother in years. I have his email address here somewhere. But we all know we're family. We're all busy living our own lives because that's the way we do it. The lesson that Dad taught us all was "live your own life."

When he was here for my graduation last May, we knew it might well be the last time we'd see each other. We made our peace then. I know he was very proud and that he loved me very much. Ultimately, what else can a son do for his father?

Thanks, Dad.

I love you.

17 comments:

Lesley said...

You did him proud Nate. I'm thinking of you. Lesley

aaron said...

I here too Nathan. I really cannot imagine what losing a father is like, especially one that you love so much.

Nancy McKeand said...

A beautiful tribute, Nate!

Nathan Lowell said...

I'm off to Maine for the funeral in a few hours. I'm not wearing the "I'm blogging this" t-shirt.

Thank you for all the kind words. They're very comforting in ways I hadn't expected.

Kay Ferrell said...

What a tribute, Nate. Know that we're with you in spirit.

John M. said...

Hi Nate -- you and I talked about that visit several times during my last trip -- I'm so pleased to have been a part of that experience in such a small way. You've said what all sons feel at some time it sent some pretty meaniful shivers down my spine.

Kathyh said...

Nate, I am thinking of you at this time of loss and feel your sorrow, as I am sure many of us are in the profession of education of children who are visually impaired. Your dad must have been particularly proud of you at commencement and I am sure you were a constant source of pride for him.

turtleback said...

I pray for him in everlasting peace.

turtleback said...

SH.

Sheryl said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, but your tribute to him is a thing of beauty and another reason for him to be proud of you.

karenmccaleb said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, but I'm glad you and your Dad were able to share your graduation together - a cherished gift. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

jenhowl said...

A wonderful tribute - especially to the idea that family is what family is. It doesn't have to look the same to feel the same. I know your dad was proud of you - not just when you graduated but for living your life your way. Prayers from the land of Zion ;)

Renee said...

He seems like he was an amazing guy, and I can tell you really loved and admired him. I am sorry for your loss.

Sarolta said...

Silent people have their silent ways of communicating their deepest feelings and deepest thoughts.
I'm sorry for your loss, Nate.

Manisha said...

Bade Bhai,

This was very beautiful and touching. Some relationships do not require words and expressions, they are bonded by emotions and thoughts. Looks like you did share a very unique bonding with your father and I know you will continue to do so.

Love,
Your Choti Behan (Manisha)

Linda Higbee Mandlebaum said...

Your tribute to your father was touching. But what strikes me is how you described him as being "quiet, gentle, self-effacing." That's just like you, Nate. What a wonderful gift he gave you.

Vivid Muse said...

I'm so glad you were able to have that time together before he passed. I'm very sorry for your loss. You honor him greatly, not only with this post but with the wonderful man you are.