Some things happened while putting together this month’s magazine that have reminded me of how important parenting is and why I started this magazine in the first place.

On May 17, my partner’s father died after fighting cancer for 15 years. The doctors only expected him to live about five years when he was diagnosed but, as was his style, Larry Clement, Jr., had to prove them wrong. He continued to live the way he wanted right up until the end. He was driving on Monday and died Wednesday morning.

My partner and children are devastated as is the rest of our family. Larry died at home, surrounded by his wife and children as he wanted. But there is a void now. Losing a parent feels like losing a limb – an essential part of yourself that you never imagined being without. It’s shocking. It’s disorienting. It’s even a little terrifying.

Those who raised us affected our entire lives. There are things from childhood that we carry, that weigh us down, that burden us, and we must spend time working through them. But there are also joys and love and lessons we learned that make us who we are as adults. Good parenting helps to raise good people, which contributes to a society that works.

This is part of why I started Gale Force Communications, which publishes Rhode Island Parent Magazine and website. To honor parenting. To help parents be better parents.

As with any parent, Larry wasn’t perfect. He could be gruff and tough when he wanted. But inside was a parent who loved his children and wife so much that he went, alone, and planned his own funeral two weeks before he died. He chose the grave plot, the casket, the funeral home. He told the funeral home director that he was doing it so his “kids wouldn’t have to.”

That is parenting love at its finest.

Susan Gale