That title should be read, not with dismissal, but with skepticism. I subscribe to the school of though that recommends viewing with suspicion, anyone who puts an adjective in front of the word "man." Such adjectives often imply a standard that may not be entirely honest. I believe that a "good" man is just about any man who believes himself to be good, according to his own carefully considered standards. There are many men though, who would be considered good by nearly everyone's standards, and my husband was among them.
June 30, 2013 was WolfAlpha's and my 25th wedding anniversary. It was also the day he died. He was 58 years old. Six weeks ago he was working as usual, four weeks ago he saw his doctor to address what he thought was a stubborn case of hay fever, one week ago he received a definitive diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, and a few days later he died. Early the next morning, our son arrived from Afghanistan. Next week we will bury my husband's ashes beside his parents.
In spite of his flaws, twenty-five years with him was not enough; I've known all along I was lucky to have him. He was a good man. When he committed himself to anything, he committed himself fully, but he never let anyone tell him what was worth committing to. He followed most of the rules because sometimes you have to go along to get along, but he has been known to occasionally follow those rules with open contempt and he never allowed anyone to believe they were putting one over on him. He had few illusions and his Bullshit Detector was finely tuned - even with me. Nobody manipulated him without his knowledge and consent. He was strong, so strong, both mentally and physically. Perhaps the nickname WolfAlpha was prophetic. Like many a well-bred and well-trained police dog, he worked at his usual pace until he dropped, never letting a weakness slow him down. I thank God he knew how to relax and enjoy life as fully, rather than waiting for a retirement that he dared not count on.
As a father he was both stern and affectionate. He loved his son more than anything on earth, and he told him so often. He also taught his son to be a man. He taught his son that being a cog in someone else's machine is a just a part of life, but that being a cog would not define him if he chose to define himself. WolfAlpha taught his son to define himself.
He taught me the same thing. I would not be the person I am now if I had not married him. I was vain and shallow and lacking direction when we married. I had no idea what I wanted out of life, but he showed me what was worth having, and what was worth being. And he gave me more than I ever deserved. We did not have a "perfect marriage" or a "perfect love." What we had grew stronger in our efforts to overcome its imperfections.
Rest in peace, Conard Brewer McCarley Jr. I love you and I will miss you.