To quote Dickens,
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…
2016 brought happiness and sadness, gains and losses. The year began in winter and ended in winter. There were more doctor visits for both Rick and I than previous years have seen. There were false reports and medical tests that added unnecessary stress. But summer brought happiness and optimism. We planned a great new adventure in our shops, and saw many more visitors than ever before. And as the fall began, we gained a lovely daughter-in-law and marveled at the most beautiful fall foliage any of us could remember. But in the final week the year signed off will a cruel slash of truth
It is a different world now. Yesterday we celebrated the life of my wonderful husband Rick, who passed away on Christmas morning. As I said on Facebook the next day, my heart died with him. Rather than a post here, I will publish his eulogy, written and delivered by our daughter Trish.
Laurent Richard Palardy may have been born in Peabody, but Georgetown was his hometown. If you knew him ‘back in the day’ you called him “Ricky”. If you knew him now, you called him “Rick”. Rob and I called him “Dad”. Our friends called him “Mr. Palardy”. Zoe and Tristan called him “Grampy”. But to my mother, he was simply “Hon”. She called him “Hon”, but she didn’t call him often. She didn’t have to call him, because they were usually holding hands.
My father had a smile that would light up a room, and a laugh that would lift the saddest heart. He had the largest hands of any man I have ever met, and he used those hands to work for the good of others. When I think of my father, I remember the quote by Saint Frances de Sales:
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, Nothing so gentle as real strength”
My father was the original ‘gentle giant’. He always made a positive impact on the lives of others. In his work with the Fire Department, he used his physical strength to aid people, and his emotional gentleness to comfort victims. He volunteered with the Georgetown library, plowed snowy roads, drained soggy basements, and always showed up with a pickup truck and a smile when someone was moving.
Nothing was ever inconvenient to my father. He was never “too busy”, never too tired. He coached our soccer teams, and cheered all of us at every soccer game. He was an adviser to the Explorer Scouts with the Fire department, and coached Rob’s Lego League. He taught fire safety and woodworking in my mothers’ middle school classroom, and spent hours volunteering his time to help kids on community projects.
My father truly believed in the importance of nurturing and supporting kids. He opened his Wooden Toy and Gift business because he wanted kids to have toys that were safe and would last forever. His shop was always kid-friendly, and toys were always meant to be played with! I’m certain that Zoe and Tristan were not the only ones who believed that Grampy was secretly Santa’s Elf.
He would never have called himself a role-model, but he absolutely was. He taught us to never stand idly by when help was needed, and to never expect or demand a thank-you for doing what needed to be done. My father taught me to make my own decisions, and to believe in my own choices.
Above all, he believed in my mother. He respected her dreams, supported her ideas, and shared her values. My mother says, and we agree, that there was never, ever, a better man. They spent 50 years together, and were married for 46. And in that time, in all those years, my father never left the house without stopping to say “I love you”.
The time has come for him to leave, to go ahead without us.
And I know that as he goes, he hears us say “I love you”.
Please share your hugs and kind words generously with those you treasure. Here are all of us, at Rob and Heather’s wedding, enjoying the moment together. But now we mourn.