It's been important for me to laugh during this time. So this is a kind of fun picure of my dad that I found among his things. I say fun because he's probably in his late 20s in it, looking like the academic and slightly mischieveous (and mysterious!) person that he was.
In the days since my dad's death on Christmas Eve night or Christmas Day, many have shared their sweet and dear memories of him. Over and over again, I've heard people say that he was one of a kind - and he certainly was. He may have been a little shy, but he'd open up if you worked at it - and he had a really fascinating life. He was a counsellor, investor, and an entrepreneur.
Yet more than anything he was a great dad- he taught me how to write really well, took month-long road trips with me in the summers, taught me about economics and investing, and instilled in me the importance of education. Every Sunday morning and Wednesday night growing up he took me to church. He came to every single performance I was in from high school all the way through college, not missing even one of them.
More recently, he loved talking about world affairs and economics; Chrisopher was amazed at our long conversations on the phone about politics and the news!
He was a great dad.
But my great dad wasn't great at some things. Like a lot of us, he wasn't really good at thinking about the time when he wasn't going to be here anymore. He had no funeral pre-planning arrangements that I've found. He didn't make very much money at any point while raising me since he was a stay-at-home dad. He also wasn't great at planning for retirement. For about the last 9 years or so after his quadruple bypass surgery, he'd been living off of very modest social security income, receiving public benefits, and eating mostly at community meals for seniors and the disadvantaged.
When my truly one-of-a-kind dad died, it was apparently sudden and without suffering. Yet because he lived in the same home since 1979, and because of serious illness and some circumstances around his death, his house needs the significant attention of a specialized, professional cleaning and restoration staff.
I'm asking for these funds ($8,000) to help pay the immediate expenses of a simple, dignified cremation and burial for him in Grandma's plot. This way, the immediately available liquid assets of his Estate can be used for cleaning and to mitigate immediate and serious mold and safety issues in the home. Funds are needed quickly, as a death certificate that would allow me to access his small bank account probably won't be issued until mid-to-late January 2017.
Any funds in excess of the amount raised for the funeral will be used to defray the above-mentioned cleaning and safety costs, initially estimated to be $10,000.
I will be personally responsible for expending these gifts. Know that any gifts made to me, while not tax-deductible for you, will be used carefully and well: for burial expenses and to address immediate and serious cleaning and safety needs.
The intent here is not to raise funds for home remodelling or to make my dad's home a more attractive investment that would make money for me, just to deal with immediate needs. Therefore, funds raised in excess of $18,000, should all of you be so very generous, will be donated to churches and not-for-profit organizations I support.
Your gifts will help me not have to go into personal debt, or to spend down my seminary/grad school or retirement savings. They will mean so much to me since I've faced so much loss and pain this past few years.
Thank you, and peace be with you.
Martin (the 3rd - a.k.a. "Tre")
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