In Memory of Greg McCaig (1953-2020)
“What you lose as you age is witnesses, the ones that watched from early on and cared, like your own little grandstand.” - John Updike
We chose the John Updike quote above because the term witness reminded me of my father. A witness is someone who has knowledge of something by recollection and experience, and who can tell about it accurately.
For most of us, when we reflect on a memory, we remember bits and pieces, but not my dad. He was a storyteller in every sense of the word. Like his favorite director, John Ford, he knew how to set the scene and frame the action. He recalled every detail down to the weather. When he was done, he had always managed to reach back in time and hand you something that made you think, or laugh, and sometimes cry.
He went out of his way to share stories about growing up in Brooklyn with his 5 brothers, or his beloved time with Jesuits and classmates at Brooklyn Prep. He miraculously recalled the details of the bar business years, and weaved the tradition of the historic New York Times into the fabric of his family stories (himself, two brothers, his father, and uncle all sharing in that tradition.)
He had a knack for knowing what bound people together...laughter, gratitude for days gone by, love for those who were there with you, and reliving those moments through stories to keep them forever present.
When I think of this term witness, I think of someone who verifies your experience. Someone who was there with you, in a moment or a lifetime, and says, ‘yes, this is true and here’s why it matters.’ It is a person who stood beside you in difficulty, or in celebration, and validates who you are, and what you stand for. It is someone you trust. That’s who my dad was for me, and for so many others.
When we lost Greg, my sister and I lost a father, my mother a husband, our family lost an uncle, brother or cousin, and for others, they lost a friend. What unites all of us is that when we lost Greg McCaig…we lost a witness to each of those special moments that we shared with him.
Please join us in donating to this fund in memory of Greg McCaig.
Tim, Julianne and Lauren McCaig