Reflecting on McCain

I wonder if losses are felt more deeply in a year where one loses someone close. With the passing of my Dad early this year, it seems each loss since is felt more severely, more genuinely, more thoughtfully. Now, reflecting on the passing of Sen. John McCain, the loss to his family and to this nation is heart wrenching.

Honorable, reasonable, good-natured, Sen. McCain was a man whom I greatly respected. He contributed much to this country — recognizing the value of relationships with allies, the meaning of compassion and humanitarianism and dignity in political debate.

McCain, as did father, took with him a treasure trove of wisdom, history, humility and a unpretentious courage made through life’s hardships and military service. Like the McCains, although we were there for Dad, tried to help him hold on, tried to defray suffering, in the end the course couldn’t be changed. Unlike many things in life, where, if you work hard and put forth effort, you find you can turn things your way or prevent loss, sadness or misfortune — we find death is different. In the end, no matter how hard we wish, how hard we pray or how much we try to hold on, there is a stronger power that prevails.

What’s left…faith, hope that there is something beyond our capacity to understand, that there is more to the story and that there is good to come beyond the suffering and sadness. As scientists discover breakthroughs each day revealing a greater capacity of our minds, further dimensions of the universe, and of the, perhaps, not so distinct separation of science, God or a greater power, may we find courage and remain hopeful.

Sen. McCain in facing his fate with strength and humor, poignantly summarized the words of playwright William Saroyan, “I always knew no one could live forever, but I thought there might be one exception.”

May those who carry on find the principled character and humility that Sen. McCain so respectably modeled.