Until We Meet Again

George Doerfler

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.

American White Pelican shot near Kentucky Lake in April 2015

10 thoughts on “Until We Meet Again”

  1. A beautiful and fitting tribute. Your father sounds like he was a great person. While you may be down and sad now all those memories will make you smile and ease your lost. Regards to all the family from B & Mrs H.

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    1. Thank you Brad. I imagine from this point forward I will probably find myself struggling to hold back a tear every time I encounter a pelican while out birding or when one “purposely” appears at just the perfect time. Unfortunately, I went through my box last night and ended up with a soaked sleeve, but in the end I had the most peaceful sleep last night that I have had since the news came.

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  2. Thank you for this, Brian. I already miss our Dad so much. I realized as I grew up that he must have been a remarkably modern father for his time. He was generous and kind, with a sense of humor and a down-to-earth sensibility that infected all three of us sons. He was the model I consciously tried to follow as a father. Our Dad’s influence extends to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and no doubt beyond. I will miss everything about him.

    Ron

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    1. I know both you and Dan felt the same way and a little bit jealous both of you got the privilege of being around him for longer than I. He was extremely well grounded which may be a product of growing up when he did, serving overseas (although he would never talk about the combat he was involved in) and then having the difficult task of raising me. I always noted the smile on his face when he got to visit with his grand and great-grandchildren and so glad they had a chance to spend time with him. We talked about this, but the fact I was not there at the end still weighs heavily on me and assuredly going to be one of those regrets that will linger for a long time. For now, will rely on the wonderful memories and focus on helping out wherever I can for mom.

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  3. I know precisely what you both (Brian and Ron) are going through having lost my dad seven years ago. While it doesn’t hurt any less right now, the memories and behaviors of Dad start to appear in places you may not expect as time passes. A sounds will remind you of Dad. A smell. A pelican. A fish jumping. A red winged blackbird call. The way homemade veggie soup smells. The holidays. Birthdays. The smell of coffee brewing (no Keurig stuff). You just never know when a memory will be triggered. Enjoy them. All of them.

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    1. Thanks Brad. I’ll have to learn over time to accept these signs with gladness and not the current sadness. I do take solace in the fact that he is free of the earthly afflictions that he was battling for so many years. Something tells me he will be watching out for me in this Saturday’s 50K – hope so at least, cuz I’m going to need it.

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