Gerald Francis McCausland was born on March 4, 1932. He took his last breath on October 6, 2020. During those 88 years of life, he had many roles. He was a son to James and Florence McCausland. He was a brother to Kay, Sally, and Jimmy. He was the husband to Joan and the father to Jerry, Michael, Kevin, Mark and Mary Kate. He was also an uncle to countless nieces and nephews as well as a grandfather to Ryan and Kelsi.
When I was growing up, his primary role was that of the provider. He worked many jobs associated with computers. When he finally retired, he shunned anything to do with computers. The modern day computer and what it has done for society is foreign to him and an annoyance. When I asked him why he didn’t like it he said that he wasted enough of his life with computers.
You see, my dad was a farmer. He believed in life. Every year he would plant the seeds in the indoor nursery, grow them to a healthy germination, prepare the soil outdoors, and plant them where the sun was plentiful. He would nurture them at the conclusion of his “workday” and pull the weeds and defend them with ever increasing and elaborate fences. When the harvest came, sometimes there was so much fruit that he needed to tie up the plant to keep it from breaking.
I had the privilege of knowing my father for 58 years. He took me to baseball games, watched me play baseball, and was even my coach for a day. No matter how bad I did…and I was pretty bad…he was there encouraging me all the way. He even forced himself to sit through school plays and musicals when I knew that he didn’t really love to do those things. I took my love of music with his support to college. I made my career teaching music. At my first concert, he was there.
He did the same for my brothers and sister. My dad shared the skiing experience with Jerry and Kevin. He became the defacto owner of dogs that were originally his children’s and both Tempo and Melody became his best friends. His two youngest children have remained close in both proximity and importance. They both spend countless hours in what has been the family home for over fifty years.
Probably one of his greatest joys was being grandpop to Ryan and Kelsi. He encouraged every aspect of growth in both of my children. He was the first to hand Ryan a pair of drumsticks. He was host to my daughter in her time as a sales person in Princeton after her graduation. Dad and Kelsi also shared their love of dogs and now she works with dogs all the time and Ryan is a professional drummer. Dad planted the seeds and was there to nourish the dream and the harvest has been good.
Since my parents’ retirement, I have seen what a true love story is all about. Dad and mom would switch roles as caretaker when the other needed them. Still, we needed them just as much. Recently, it has been my father who needed more care and my brothers and sister have had the opportunity to give back.
Regarding my father’s spiritual journey, it is difficult to say. He was a private man in those regards and although at one time he was on a path to priesthood, he is now far removed from his time at church. I am likewise being challenged in this regard particularly in these uneasy times but I am going to make an argument for where I believe his spirit is in the context of Christianity and I am going to mix a little politics in for good measure. Don’t worry…it’s Biblical politics.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is being questioned by legal scholars. Their goal was to discredit him. They asked Him one question…and he gave three answers.
What is the greatest commandment?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength and the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. On these two hang all the law and the prophets.
My father clearly loved his neighbor. This is clear evidence of the first commandment which is very personal. The law and doctrine and prejudice and judgement must be viewed in the light of this statement by Jesus. I believe he has evaluated his spiritual life accordingly.
Finally, at times like these, we take measure of what we have lost. A great man who has connected with so many people has finished his time on Earth and we are sad. I choose to take measure on what we have gained by having this man in our lives.
I love you dad. I hope I continue to make you proud.