Sunday, May 20, 2007


My father died five years ago yesterday. I remember receiving the call from my mother. She dialed me from a satellite phone from a fairly remote area in Albania, the country where my dad was serving as the U.S. Ambassador. I was shaken by the news--he was only 55 and seemed to be in good health--but I didn't grieve, not just then. Like so many others in shock by the loss of a loved one, I was distracted by the work that needed to be done. Family members needed to be called. A memorial service needed to be planned. My mother's life was suddenly without direction; while she usually managed to stay employed full-time, she'd uprooted herself (and us) every few years as Dad's assignments took us from place to place.

As it happened, my mom stayed in Albania to oversee a local memorial service (Joseph Limprecht was something of a celebrity there) before accompanying Dad's body home to Washington. My sister and her fiance flew in from Australia, and I helped the State Department coordinator plan a memorial service in D.C. We ended up choosing to have the service at the DACOR-Bacon House, where I'd been married just 2 years earlier.

It wasn't until a few months later that I really came to grips with my Dad's death. I was never terribly close to my father--if anything, I regret we didn't have the chance to deepen our bond. But I often wonder what Grandpa Joe might have been like.