The most moving part of the memorial service came near the end, when Peter’s children Christopher and Elizabeth spoke. For the first time, his name wasn’t Peter — it was dad.
“There is no way to express how much I miss him,” Christopher told the hushed Carnegie Hall audience. “Each day is, above all else, a day without him.”
After he was diagnosed with lung cancer, Peter gave Christopher a pocketwatch with an engraving on the back: “Loving deeply gives us courage.”
The message felt false; loving deeply makes courage impossible. As Peter’s illness worsened, the family would comfort each other with the “false mantra of the terrified,” Chris said: “It’s going to be alright.”
It wasn’t alright, of course. Chris concluded that he must carry on his father’s love and replicate it through daily acts.
Elizabeth stepped to the microphone next.
“Without him, I find myself stumbling around in the dark,” she said. Her voice shook. “…Loving him so much, and not having him here, is the hardest thing [I've ever done].” She concluded with a poem, printed in the program:
|“Take him and cut him out in little stars|
And he will make the face of heav’n so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”