rick beitch's death
(written a few days after Rick died)
|Eleven days before his death, Rick's daughter and only child, Miranda, gave birth to his
only grandchild, Jacob. Rick and Miranda's mother, Chani, had previously
divorced but had always seemed each other's best friends, in recent years sharing a
house together to parent first Miranda (who will continue to live
with her mother) and then Jacob. They had planned to be central to
raising their grandson. To this end, Rick had recently left
his lawn care job to be home full-time, and in a private
ceremony, he and Chani re-married two days before his death.|
A memorial will take place at 3:30pm, September 14, 2012, at Hamden Hall Country Day School (1108 Whitney Ave., Hamden, CT 06518). All are welcome.
IF YOU HAVE MEMORIES, MEMENTOS, PHOTOS OR ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT RICK YOU COULD SHARE, BARBARA (firstname.lastname@example.org) WOULD WELCOME HAVING THEM (PREFERABLY WITHOUT CENSORHIP: SHE'S A BIG GIRL AND WOULD WELCOME KNOWING AS MUCH ABOUT HER SON AS SHE CAN). We hope to put such content together in a remembrance volume.
For those who want to offer a financial tribute to Rick, Barbara has set up the Rick Beitch Memorial Fund, to be used for the arts and sports programs (two areas in which Rick excelled at the school) at Hamden Hall.
If you want to see postings of sympathy and memories, go to the Facebook pages of Barbara (Beitch) and Miranda Palomino. I may eventually collect and post such messages on this web site.
Rick was born in South Korea of a Korean mother and American GI father. He came into Barbara's and Irwin's family when he was five; Barbara still has the suit he wore when he deplaned in 1970 at JFK with other adoptees after a long flight from Korea. Several years ago, and with the encouragement of Barbara and Irwin, Rick found and met his birth mother, who died of cancer about a year ago, and two half-brothers.
A turbulent, often troubled youth had long since given way to a self-redeemed mensch and a life that included a close, loving relationship in recent years between mother and son. In his room in Dallas, I was struck by the presence of photos of his parents and sister. Since I've known her, Barbara has often commented on what a rock he was for her when Irwin died in 2009.
I do not know how Barbara retains resilience in the face of deaths during the last 18 years of a husband and their two children (and in her 20s, her parents' deaths). But she suffers, mourns, endures, and returns to a vibrant, full life. If anything, this terrible event has brought us even closer.
Within a few hours of learning of Rick's death, Barbara and I flew to Dallas to be supportive of Chani, Miranda, Jacob, and Jacob's father. Barbara and Chani seemed to connect especially strongly in their common grief, and the intense two-day trip seemed to help Barbara attain some initial closure.
Our wedding on June 3 now has even more meaning to us: Rick attended, escorted us to the gazebo where the marriage ceremony occurred, and danced with Barbara to Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" (his choice). At our open house the day before, he dutifully manned our outdoor grill for long stretches. His visit was the last time Barbara saw him, though he did keep phoning her to check in, and she has commented on how much she will miss those calls.
In the midst of our mourning, we are aware that the Dallas heat wave that contributed to Rick's death has been linked to global warming. While human beings dither about its existence, consequences and solutions, the impact of global warming and other environmental devastation will continue, little by little, to have real consequences to real people. Terrible as our own loss is to us, we are keenly aware that vast numbers of people in far less privilged parts of the world will more and more be victimized,mostly by First World (but increasingly also by aspirants to its--apparent--economic flourishing) exploitation and diminution of our planet's resources