Page 22 - December2018
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In other words, through her pain and loss, she decided to make the most of her life.
William, Matthew, Harry, Ben, Alexandra — take note of this conscious act of will to make the most of this in ection point, and if you want to honor your grandmother, remember you need not be a passive participant in the drama of your own life.
Then came the strokes —  rst one, then two, then 3, 4 and 5 — the  rst was a shock, but each subsequent one was a demoral- izing setback. Yet, even then,
she found within herself the
wherewithal to go on, to
do the therapy, go to the
doctors, keep searching for
might be a guide to their own decision making as life goes on. I want to thank Ken, who you heard a few minutes ago, as he covered for me a thousand times over these dozen years and, my brother, Barry, my great partner in this effort to support our
parents for these dozen years.
It is not 100 percent clear where we go from here. When my
father passed, it was easy: Job one was to help my mother.
But this is now one of those in ection points. This chapter closes, and the next opens. The story is not yet written. But I shall endeavor to write a story true to the values my parents
taught me,  lled with love. As we were sitting shiva, the Jr. Pundit Primo, a.k.a my oldest son William — who wrote and delivered the beautiful tribute to his grandmother that we include above — had a visit — we call it a shiva call — from one of his closest friends, a boy named James who moved to
America from Australia.
As I watched the boys chat, I thought about how they met and then I thought about the beautiful testimonial that Ken
Whitacre gave, which we also include above.
Back when William was in fourth grade, just nine years old,
he took on the job at school of being a Panther Pal, a position that required him to host visiting students who were considering attending the school.
He had done this several times but never with a foreign student.
After school, William came home and approached me. He said, “Dad, today I was a Panther Pal for a boy from Australia. His Dad is going to get a job here, and so he is looking at schools. They are here for a whole week, and they do not know anyone. I think we need to invite them over so they won’t be lonely.”
So, we did. And it was the start of a wonderful friendship.
As I sat at the shiva, I thought about what motivated a nine- year-old to care about this Australian family being lonely, and I realized that this was my mother’s values being expressed through the generations.
When my mother would host Thanksgiving or Passover or some other event, we always had an open house; there was always some “orphan” with no family nearby who we welcomed. And Ken’s eulogy is an expression of my mother’s open heart.
It became my way too. And, as I watched the boys, I realized it was William’s, as well.
Sometimes in life, people despair at not having achieved what they had hoped to achieve. But those now young men talking was a reminder that we all have in uence that we don’t always realize. William’s concern for a stranger in a strange land comforted a family and helped them feel welcome and thrive on a new conti- nent, and William, and our whole family, made special friends.
Maybe what funerals and eulogies remind us is that how we live matters. We have in uence long after we are gone. Let us all endeavor to live so that this in uence is for good. pb
In the end, the thing to know about my mother was she was so content. Oh sure, in some abstract way she wanted to go on and see her grandchildren marry, but she always told me that we didn’t need her for that. She had lived a life richer than she had ever dreamed.
Just a week before she
passed, we were talking, and she laid it out almost as if she knew what was coming. “I have  own on the Concorde, sailed the QE II, cruised the fjords of Scandinavia, visited China and Rio, Australia and Fiji. I’ve been to Israel and all across Europe. Thanks to your Dad, I have had such an amazing life. You know all our friends say that Dad and I had the best marriage of everyone we know. And I have you — you are always here for me.”
And so, I tried to be.
In 2006, I received a phone call from both of my parents asking me to come to their apartment. I was 44 years old with a wife, two children and a business. Yet I drove the whole way over thinking, like a 12-year-old, “What I did I do wrong?”
In fact, my parents, who were always giving, for the  rst and only time, asked for my help. My father had been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and been given a short time to live. They said they were not thinking clearly, and they asked if I would be willing to help them by  nding if there was anything to be done. A few weeks later, on my birthday, we  ew to MD Anderson to arrange for a life-saving transplant with stem cells from his identical twin brother, Sydney, who is with us today.
For the next dozen years — from that moment until today — a third of my adult life — it has been a mad dash through hospitals, therapies, doctors and ambulance rides. I held hands, was a moti- vational coach, vetted doctors and found great places for lunch!
Of course, these things were never more important to me than my wife or children, but they were often urgent. My wife, Debbie, was with my mother when she passed, and, for that, I will always be grateful. But, more broadly, I know my mother would have wanted me to thank Debbie, William and Matthew for giving me the time to ful ll what I perceived to be my responsibilities.
I hope that through this exercise of  lial devotion, I taught my children the values of love, of family, of duty, and that these values
jim Prevor, Mike Prevor and Roslyn Prevor

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