Richard Mackney: April 18, 2010 – While your journey here may have run its course, I wish that the wind is always at your back, and that you keep the rubber side down on your future travels.
A great friend and cyclist…
While I only knew Rich for a couple of years, I feel fortunate to have met him and ridden with him in numerous group and charity rides. I think the one thing that always stands out about Rich was his infectious smile and attitude. It is amazing how many times you could bump into someone at a store or movie & not recognize them because they were not wearing their “kit”. You never had that problem with Rich – whether it was the smile, the mustache, the great attitude or a combination of those items, you just knew it was him.
A great friend and a fighter…
Besides the great attitude, I mentioned above, you could always tell that if anything came up, either Rich would meet it head on or if you were having a problem, he would always be there to help you with your own problems. Well approximately 16 months ago, Rich found himself in the fight for his life, which he unfortunately lost yesterday. Not only did he meet the challenge of fighting Lou Gehrig’s disease head on with grace, but also with help from his family and numerous friends, he started to work on fighting it for others. It takes a brave soul to publically talk about your challenges and difficulties, but to keep soldiering on as shown in your blog – The Mackney Warriors.
A great friend and family man…
While I unfortunately never met your family Rich, it is obvious through the blogs, you talking about them on the group rides, that they meant the world to you. I think your son brought it out beautifully in the email that was sent out earlier today.
Day after musings, by Keith Mackney:
In the earlier part of a boy’s life, “Dad” is likened to “Superhero.” Playground conversations can segue into ‘my dad can beat up your dad’ as, in his mind, each boy’s father is the strongest man in the world. Well, at over two hundred pounds, towering at six foot four inches and with my height being closer to the ground, my dad was. Biggest, strongest man in the world. Ever. Knew everything. Answer any question. Fix anything himself. Powerful stare. And I mean powerful. One look from him and I would start confessing things. Even if I wasn’t up to mischief I would just start giving details about whatever I was doing until I was granted reprieve from the stare.
Next part is different. I’m thirteen. Dad doesn’t know anything and rides me all the time. Seems to have a personal stake in embarrassing me in front of my friends. Constantly dishing out a ridiculous amount of chores and responsibility around the house. It’s Saturday and I have the right to sleep in as late as I want because, well… I just do. Not this Saturday. This Saturday is 6:00 am carpet shampooing followed by landscaping all day. Dad. Son. Butting heads. Disdain. Friction. In his presence, I no longer find comfort.
I’m eighteen. I’m free.
I’m older. Past being a kid. Don’t feel like an adult yet. Dad’s smart. Pretty smart, actually. Not knowing anything applies to me, now. Dad knows a lot. I have a lot of life questions again and I need help with stuff. He doesn’t have the answer to everything but the answers he does have come from life experience. No rhetoric. Wisdom from experience. It’s valuable. Another thing, everything that used to drive me crazy, all the chores, all the lessons I didn’t care about before… well, I didn’t realize it at the time but dad was giving me skill sets. I know how to work hard and will never starve because of it. I can change a tire. I can do laundry. I can stay calm during an emergency. And importantly, I can figure out how to figure things out.
Dad’s sick. Diagnosed. I have grown to the size of my father and it helps me take care of him. I now have a finite timeline with my father. We have a lot of conversations. Life, triumph, fear, responsibility, love and family. These memories are for me. Our words are exchanged as equals but I’m back to looking at him wide-eyed. My dad could never lift a tank. He was never able to fly. To my knowledge, no x-ray vision. But after watching him go through what he went through and taking care of his family while fighting this God awful disease with the force he did…
I’m back to being a kid. My dad is a super hero.
And if I may… he could probably beat up your dad.
The official announcement:
Family and Friends,
It is with a heavy heart and mixed emotion that I must announce the passing of my father, Richard Mackney, last evening. Sadness, for our loss. Rage for what was taken. Relief, for a conclusion to his suffering. Happiness for the time I did get. Pride, in getting to see the best side of our family and friends for going out of their way to do everything possible to help.
My father asked me to pass along to everyone the great appreciation our family has for all that everyone has done to help our family both personally and in our fundraising efforts. We could not have come as far as we did without it. Every gesture, however large or small seeming, helped in making my father as comfortable as possible during his two year battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). The past two weeks were especially unkind to my father but we were connected to Hospice of the Valley and they have been absolutely phenomenal in lending comfort and support.
Per my father’s request, he had no desire, no need, no want for a funeral or a heavy service. In lieu of that, we will be holding a service at Thunder Bird (my father’s school). The people that came out to my father’s fundraisers and the celebratory tone that was struck there meant the world to him. Granted, this will be an inherently more somber occasion but my dad would rather be celebrated. As of yet, the date has not been worked out but I will be sure to let everyone know.
You may call the house and speak with myself or Lindsey but we would also ask your understanding that we would prefer no unannounced drop-by visits. I am happy to field and questions and you may email me directly, but please bear with me if my correspondence is less than timely.
Forever Rich Mackney’s son,