It's still near-impossible to believe that you were here in the world with us only a week ago, and now you're gone for good. None of us - Mom, John, no one who knew you, evidently - can get their minds around this. The word that keeps coming up when people talk about Dick Mernit is vital. A big presence like yours leaves a palpable hole, and there's been quite a wave of emotion rushing in to fill the absence. You wouldn't believe the things people have been saying about you.
I am so glad that I had the great good luck to meet your dad. It makes me smile just to think of him.
Such a sweet, lovely man - so warm and welcoming.
Dick was always so alive and on the mark.
A big person and just a big fucking joy. And better at tennis than you or I.
So many things I didn't get to tell you. The love between us is so strong that I do believe you know most of it, anyway, but I guess this is what I would've wanted to lead with, back when I really could have had this conversation with you: You brightened up the world, Dad. And this is no ordinary thing.
Such a good, kind-hearted uplifter of spirit, your father was.
I found Dick both energizing and inspiring, particularly in his cheer, bounce, curiosity and graciousness. He really seemed to be living in the here and now - he gave the impression that he was truly living in the thick of things, luxuriating in the richness of life. His eyes, mind and heart were open.
One little consolation is that you died at a point in your life when you still had hope in your heart: you were regaining your strength, and you yourself didn't believe you'd be leaving us this soon. A larger consolation is that the four of us - father, mother and both sons - were together when you took your leave.
Still, it's stubborn, this death of yours. Every hour I come back to it; it's there and will never go away. Meanwhile there's the ongoing challenge of keeping you alive, around, amidst and among us. One stopgap measure: I already associate you (you the lover of good drink and people and the infinite variety of life's most colorful details) with pleasure. So it's natural enough, when I bite into say, a particularly well-cooked, truly rare piece of steak, to think Dad would like this. Or to see a woman's fine legs and know your reaction ("Great gams") or watch an amazing return in a tennis match that scores a point and hear you cry "Too good!" So there you'll be. I can do that.
The harder part is dealing with what can't be tricked out - the ache at the center of my soul when I know I can't share with you something new. Finally we do have to keep walking forward, into the future, without you.
What a cool, lovely guy! Thank you for offering us a chance to know Dick Mernit. I can see him in front of me right now, and life feels so much richer with him in the room.
A man imbued with a great love of life and a fabulous sense of humor.
He and Dee-Ann were real inspirations for how to age gracefully and live life fully!
If someone were to ask me what the deal with you was, I'd tell them my story of that first morning after. I went out to get coffee for Mom and John and myself, and Peter the doorman asked how you were doing. I hated having to be the one who told him. He drew back against the wall like he'd been hit, and his eyes filled with tears, and he took me by the arm and told me what a great man you were.
Soon after that we went to the physical therapy place across the street to tell the manager, and before he could say a word the receptionist gasped and clapped her hands to her face and said "Oh my God!", her eyes tearing up. When Ginette at the gym around the corner heard the news, she really started wailing.
Later John went to pick up your watch at the shoe repair shop, and when the Russian woman at the counter heard you were gone, she got on the phone with Simon her husband, who had to be told three times (he didn't believe her). He had her put John on the phone, so he could praise you to the skies - and make sure his wife gave John back the money for the watch. And when John thanked him and said the kinds of things we'd been saying to people, Simon said: No, you don't understand - He was the best customer I ever had.
That was Dick Mernit, one great salesman himself, is what I would tell this person who didn't get to meet you: My dad was the man who in his passing left the doorman, the receptionist, the gym lady and the shoe repair man bereft. So you can only imagine how it is for his wife of 62 years and his two aging sons.
He will be missed by all. Such a bright spirit.
Your dad was a beautiful spirit. I feel so delighted and lucky to have gotten to know him just a little.
He was a burning light.
A great soul serves everyone all the time. A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.