Of our first meeting, I have no recollection- although this is not to say that it was not a significant one. I have only a scattered collection of pictures to remember those first moments I spent with him- as he and my cousin, Cathy, held me at my Baptism. Over and over again, I hear how he was “Taken by the Angels,” and it makes me think: well, then, he must have been given by the angels as well. How blessed am I to have had Bill as my Godfather for these past 20 years? How appropriate that a man so loving, so generous, so committed to the human beings around him, should be chosen to nurture my spirituality? God works in mysterious ways, and now there can be no doubt in my mind that Bill is indeed one of those treasured gifts from above.
Much of my memories of Bill are from my childhood- and perhaps offer a different yet nonetheless relevant perspective on the beautiful reflections that have been posted here. As a child, I was perhaps not as aware of the day-to-day kindness that Bill showed towards his friends, his coworkers, his family, and, truly, anyone he met. He was smart, this I knew; but of his extraordinary skill in languages, his eloquent writing, his professional success, I was unaware. Yet, somehow Bill has held a certain warmth, a special place in my heart.
When I think about Bill, the first two things that come to mind are his smile, and his strength. As a little girl, I remember running to greet him, and jumping into his arms; he would hold me above his head and shake me around playfully. I never had to worry I would fall; his arms were so strong, so safe. Then he would smile at me in his particular way. I remember often thinking or, rather, feeling that his smile was saying I know who you are…and guess what? I love you for it. He gave me an incredible sense of unconditional acceptance, of comfort that I sense with only a select few people in my life. I think it is this that drew me to him, that has drawn so many who feel he has impacted their lives.
Of course, you cannot speak of Bill without remembering his sense of humor. For me, this was the entertainment of having a 35-year-old man play beanie babies, re-enact scenes from the Lion King, and participate in elaborate, filmed advertising skits for high-tech energy drinks. He certainly knew how to endear himself to children. Yet, he never failed to impress me with his eloquent, witty comebacks- and I spent many-a-time laughing along with the adults not having the faintest clue as to what I was laughing at.
I guess you could say Bill came to be invincible in my mind- he was the generous spirit I could count on for Birthday gifts and Giants games’ outings, he was the smiling face I looked forward to seeing at Easter and Christmas, he was the symbol of goodness and faith in the world I was just beginning to discover. How do you say good-bye then, to someone who should have such a permanent presence in your life? He was taken by the angels. Yes, and he was also given by the angels. I thank God for the blessing Bill has been in my life, for what he has taught me, for his love that endures.
A most blessed and thankful God-daughter,
Meghan Elizabeth Casey