Jun 28, 2013

Wonderful Eulogy from our Bill Plaff's Dad Funeral Service

Our dear Bill and Stephanie Plaff Father passed away. Rising Light Sangha did send them a card and now I would like to share his Obituary and the very well written and inspirational Eulogy they presented at his Funeral.  http://www.eagletribune.com/obituaries/x484448952/Richard-J-Pfaff-
He grew up close to the ocean. He loved the ocean. Being near the water, swimming and fishing. I remember vacations with my family by the water. I remember jumping the waves with my Dad in New Jersey. I remember fishing. Surf fishing. It was his passion.
To catch a fish, you cast a line from the beach, as hard as you can, into the wide open sea. For those of you who do not have a background in surf fishing — Imagine being on the biggest beach you have ever seen. Imagine walking up to your waist in the waves with a twelve-foot fiberglass rod. Imagine casting live eels and a lead weight—as far as you possibly can, watching them sail through the air, out into the ocean. Now, imagine yourself doing everything I just described in the middle of the night, in pitch dark, in the rain, with a 20 mph wind coming off the water in your face, in forty-degree temperatures, in October, after walking two miles in sand carrying fishing gear, bait, sandwiches and an apple. That is surf fishing. From where I stand, I realize that catching the fish may have been the goal, but for my father — and anyone here who has fished with him —every single step leading up to that moment was just as important. For my Dad, the journey mattered as much as the destination. In life, how well you do things, counts. He taught me those lessons just by being himself.
I think back to the times in my twenties and thirties when I traveled to Martha’s Vineyard for a week to fish for stripers. I met up with my Dad, Charlie Rimas, Artie Vaughan and Howard Bailey. On those trips, I learned to wait. Rods in the sand spikes. Standing around in the salty breeze with no moon at 2:00 in the morning, Wide awake, completely focused on doing what needed to be done in that moment. Illuminated by D cells, just the five of us alone on the beach, little lights in the giant night. We cast lines out into the darkness of the ocean. A speck of light on the beach, enveloped by darkness, we cast lines into the noisy, windy, waves crashing, black ocean. To have been a part of those expeditions was a gift. I loved it. I still love walking the beach at night. They worked as a team, 100% focused on each other and on catching fish. I was also part of the team when they prepared meals, discussed the evening’s strategy, assembled fishing gear or worked on equipment modifications. Engaged in a collaborative process and working toward a goal — open to accepting a wide range of outcomes. Together they evaluated the previous night’s fishing experiences and worked together to make decisions. Tisbury Great Pond? Get there for the last three hours of the incoming tide? Sea worms or eels? It was a gift to see this kind of supported action taking place between these men. Individually and collectively they taught me life’s lessons— just by being themselves. They taught me how to achieve success through collaboration, through mutual respect, communication and trust.
The last time I went fishing I was with my Dad. When I think about him, these are memories I cherish. Those of us who have had the chance to go fishing with him:
Charlie, Artie, Howard, Me, Stephanie, Judy, Clare and Linda — we all cherish those memories. We all cherish the memories of just being with my Dad,
being a part of the deep care he took with everything. He was enthusiastic, inquisitive and inventive. I am continually inspired by his ability to be completely focused on every project he undertook. At the deepest level, fishing is an act of faith. In all honesty, what is the likelihood that the kind of fish you are fishing for — in an ocean full of fish with their own places to go and their own agendas —what is the likelihood that the fish you want to catch is going to swim by your one square foot of ocean floor, see the bait and bite? What are the odds? It takes a lot of faith to chase those odds in the pitch black middle of the night. But when you love something in the world as much as fishing, there is no question. You cultivate faith and you embrace uncertainty.
As a team they had faith in the process, faith in the outcome, faith in each other and faith that the whims of nature would intersect to bring the correct fish, to the correct continent, to the correct general location of the beach where they would happen to be 
in the dark, moonless sky, in the cold damp after midnight. This was and is the depth of faith shown to me. My father lived his faith in God. He had faith in prayer, faith in people, and faith in himself. He had that kind of faith in his late twenties when he was driving my Mom from Hampstead to Boston every day for six weeks for radiation treatments.
In our hearts we each know the many ways the people in our lives have taught us things, given of themselves, given of their time and love. One person casts the line out into the ocean as far as possible. At the point of impact, concentric circles of tiny waves travel outward. Moving against bigger waves, pushed by the wind. The actions of one person, however small they may seem at the time, make a difference. Kindness ripples outward. One person’s faith can move mountains. One person’s compassion can heal. I look around today and I think of my mother. I see my sister Judy, my wife, Stephanie, my Aunt Clare (my fathers’s only sibling) and my father’s devoted friend Linda. These women have given so much. They gave much to my Dad. They have given much to me. They give to all those around them. In your heart, in your own way, for a few moments right now, let us interlock our faith and give something together. Think about the people around you, Think about all your loved ones. Think about those who are no longer with us. Send out compassion. Send out kindness. Send out prayers.  
My father will carry them on. 
Eulogy Richard Joseph Pfaff January 28, 1931 - June 3, 2013
Bill Pfaff June 7, 2013 St. Joseph Church Salem, NH Written on Martin Hill Epsom, NH

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