Tomorrow is Parent’s and Family Day here at UD. I will be doing what you taught me to do–teach. And I will be doing it for all of my students–past, present and future–as well as myself. For you I will be thinking of all the wonderful times we spent together knowing that Michael Coogan will be sharing some of those memories with all of OUR friends in Amherst as we celebrate your life and legacy. (Oh and yes, I chose some of my favorites!!)
It is called George N. Parks Day by proclamation of the Massachusetts Governor, and he has also authorized the state flags on campus to be lowered to half staff. George, can you imagine?? The man who would do anything for a Twix Bar or an overstuffed turkey and ham sandwich with mustard and mayo on a kaiser roll from the long gone Amherst Deli is being honored with accolades beyond measure. In a word, wow. I’m sure you think it unnecessary but just this once sit back and take it in, wherever you are.
The pilgrimage has begun my dear. So many people whose lives you touched are starting to converge upon UMASS. To be there for you, for the memories of all you gave them, and for each other. Each one of them holds a part of you–a part of themselves they recognized in YOU–in a special place within their hearts. They will cry, smile, laugh and even cheer. The will hug each other, trying to get close in an effort to feel less pain and find peace. And they will remember what you taught them:
To love what they do, love each other, and love themselves with complete and total abandonment. YOU were and still are loved like that. By all of them, and yes, by me.