In loving memory of George Doerfler
8/5/31 – 9/30/19
Yesterday we laid to rest the person I looked up to all my life and did everything in my ability to mold myself after in his honor. A loving husband, the best father and a caring grandparent a person could ever have. He was my coach, my mentor, my advisor and a best friend all in one. He served his family and country with honor and pride, making sure his three sons were solidly grounded and properly educated. Dad made sure we didn’t repeat any of his early mistakes, assured we had everything we needed, and admittance to my brothers, everything I ever wanted. This week I have had a lot of time to recollect on everything he taught me over the years – how the smallest person on the court could put himself in strategic positions to keep the tall boys from dominating; to crowd the plate to let the pitcher know you were confident in your abilities and how to throw inside when the batter had the nerve to try that on you; to give up your body in the field for the good of the team; to never give up and always pick yourself up off the mat every time you’ve been beaten down; to remain relaxed and under control to aim true on the range. At the time it all felt like great advice for the given situation, in truth, it was wisdom to get me successfully through this thing called life.
The pastor at the ceremony relayed how individuals often witness signs or events that capture their attention soon after the passing of a loved one. Little things that help us to remember those that we have lost. At that time I was looking up at the sky holding back a flood of memories when I noticed in the distance what looked like pelicans flying off to a better place. I couldn’t think of a better symbol for my father – pure as the color white, one of North America’s strongest birds capable of soaring effortlessly across the sky, masterfully float across troubled waters and exemplified the “can” do attitude he instilled in all of us. Dad would always keep just far enough away that we could stumble and permanently learn on our own knowing mom would always be there to tend to the temporary bruises and scrapes. The minute I needed advice or found myself astray, he would swoop in, wrap a comforting wing around me and help until I was confident to try it again on my own.
I had to say my goodbyes to the physical, but I will always enjoy our personal talks on those long runs – he with his new lungs soaring just far enough behind to swoop in as needed to give encouragement to make it up the tallest hill or to keep the legs going when I’m struggling the most. Goodbye for now father. Until we have the chance to play catch again, I will look forward to looking up at the sky and seeing your spirit soaring effortlessly overhead.