Stuart Brian Miller, July 17 1944 – February 24, 2010

My father died at 1:30 am this morning following a five week fight with an acute attack of pancreatitis. It hit him the night of his mother’s funeral, which places his death five weeks to the day after his mother’s. My grandmother lived to 90 years old. Her eldest son made it to 65. My aunt, the second child, died ten years ago. Which means my uncle, the baby at 54, has buried his father at 25, his sister at 45, and now his mother, and older brother. Stuart was not alone when he died. He was surrounded and touched by family, told he was loved, and gently eased into whatever is on the other side of that process. My grief began as a feeling of having my heart torn out of my chest and then repeatedly being punched in the stomach. Today was filled with busy work – phone calls, emails, logistics, and the requisite horrible experience at a funeral home and being upsold while in grief. When I finally got to sit with my grief it was there but had already begun to change. I want to be present as it changes. There is a vast difference between knowing something intellectually and then understanding it emotionally. I believe there is a difference between our hearts and our brains, at least metaphorically. I was with my father when he died, holding him, touching him, and speaking to him. And yet the heart does not fully understand or accept what the eyes have seen. As I sit with my grief and am supported by my wife, family, and remotely by friends I remain open to the slow, plodding process of opening of my heart. It is so much slower than my brain but it has a depth to it that I would not want to miss exploring by accelerating its process. I do know that my father saved my life countless times, and that as a human being he sought to bring joy to everyone in his life. He was most happy when he could make others happy – be it with a joke, an idea, a relationship, or a meal. His life will continue to reveal itself to us if we remain open to its gifts. Though his body is not alive his inertia is carried in everyone he touched.

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2 responses to “Stuart Brian Miller, July 17 1944 – February 24, 2010

  1. I am so sorry, Max. I saw your post while doing a 5:00 am feeding of baby Sophia. I’m sitting with her now, crying a little and wishing you could hold this little one while you cry, too. I really enjoyed knowing your dad. We are thinking of you.

  2. Max, I am so sorry. But I need you to remember that your father’s most important legacy are his children – strong, capable people who make the world a better place for being there.

    Stuart crossed the finish line a winner.

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