Eulogy for Ray

February 24, 2010; Boca Raton, Florida

First of all, thank you for being here. The love and support from family and friends is the thing that’s keeping us going during this unimaginably horrible time.

Darlene, Sarah and Ben, and Peter as well as my mother Lee, my in-laws Ruth and Tobe, Aunt Wendy, Uncle Steve and Aunt Miriam deeply, deeply appreciate it.

I’ve personally gotten unbelievable and amazing love from people I’ve known all my life… for years, months … and even from someone I just became friends with a few short weeks ago. 

Beloved aunts. Dear cousins. Friends. Colleagues. Friends I barely knew or never saw in person or met once. Fellow parents and allies in the fight. Beautiful. A blessing. Amazing! Visits. Calls. E-mail. Facebook: Facebook has been great!

Jews. Christians. Buddhists. Moslems. Atheists. Whatever. Love. Powerful love. Thank you. Thank you. I love you too.

So let’s talk about Ray, my youngest child. My baby. My little boy.

If you knew him at all, you know how charming he is. Is, not was. I’m still charmed by him. We all are.

A charming Pachter? Is that an oxymoron? Darlene is very charming of course and Sarah is a pageant queen. Ben and I have a somewhat more casual relationship with charm and tact, though we do try.

But Ray: you could drop him into a crowd of strangers and within a few minutes, they’d be his pals. Right? That’s Ray. And it was sincere.

Ray was named for my paternal grandfather, Ralph: Raphael Ralph Pachter. RRP. Ray is Raymond Raphael Pachter. RRP. Boy, those two together, had they known each other, would have been dangerous. Two peas in a pod, as Darlene likes to say. RRP times two.

Ray’s quite a character: Deep: when my father died, he’d ask me for months where Grampa Howie was and about the nature of death. An infant Woody Allen, I thought. Now, in about an hour — give or take, his mortal remains will rest just a few yards from Grampa Howie’s.

Ray loved music, as do Sarah and Ben. Ray thanked me a bunch times for turning him on to the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Was (Not Was). Miles Davis. Horace Silver…. And for taking him and Ben to see The Who a few years back. Ben says Ray’s favorite album was The Who’s Quadrophenia and I’m not surprised.

Ray loved music and he loved his family. And he was quite adept at using the Jedi Mind Trick on Darlene. The Force is strong in that one.

Every one of us in his family and among his friends can talk about how charmed we were and are by his ready laugh, big smile and words of love. In fact, the last thing he said to me was “Love ya, Daddy.”

Love ya, Ray.

He cared deeply about his family and when he returned to live with us in late October, there was a new appreciation from him of us. He started to compliment my cooking and devoured things that he previously wouldn’t have even touched. Fish. Even spaghetti, which he hated to eat because it was so unmanageable to him.

But Ray’s own cooking and eating habits would have made Elvis Presley blush. Greasy fried eggs and waffles and bacon and lox and bagels and strawberries and syrup and cheese and crackers and bananas and raisin bran. With lots of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Slathered in butter and/or cream cheese. This was one meal, by the way. Elvis would have told him it was a little unhealthy… thank you very much.

Ray also loved cars and once took an unscheduled ride in Darlene’s Camry one afternoon when we were away… a few years ago. That was exciting. He also owned a couple of vehicles that we didn’t quite know about, but that’s another story for another day.

Ray was loved… is loved by many people. I only wish that Ray took that love seriously. 

I know. Shoulda woulda coulda but if he felt the love from us maybe it would have kept him from the people who didn’t value him for who he was, and might have helped him make better choices.

Shoulda woulda coulda. Right. I know. Forget it.

It’s unreal to think that we won’t see Ray again. That’s really the hardest thing for me.

He told me last week that he wanted to spend more time with me; how he missed me when he was up north. I told him that I was here and just say when and I’ll make the time. 

I still haven’t watched the DVD of Inglourious Basterds because he said he wanted to watch it with me… so I held off. 

But we all must remember Ray as he was, as he is: A charming, lovable and loving boy. A music lover, a musician.

Ray is a song that plays forever in our hearts and minds for as long as we live.

With loud drums! Shredding guitars! Powerful bass!

I think Ray would really like that.

Love ya! Love ya! Love ya!

(If you care to leave a comment, please do so here.)
–Richard Pachter