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Grieving: Remembering My Father's Death

Updated on June 16, 2012
my father
my father

I have written often on my own blog and on Facebook about the lessons my father taught me. As with most kids, while growing up I’m not sure I can say that I was impressed with his wisdom. I was always in awe of his work ethic and I never doubted for a second that he loved me, but I don’t recall thinking that he was a particularly wise man. As the years have passed, however, I understand so much more so that today I have no doubt that he was the wisest man I have ever known.

His wisdom was of the practical variety. He was not an educated man for he dropped out of high school as a sophomore during the Great Depression to earn money for his parents. His forte in the wisdom department had to do with everyday life; he lived by a code of honor that today I find very refreshing. He was staunchly loyal to friends and family, generous to a fault, believed that you earn your respect by respecting others, was the backbone of our family and my best friend.

This Hub is for my dad and most definitely for me as well.

It’s funny how some things from many years ago are still so clear in my mind and others I can barely remember. I was thinking of a kid I bowled with when we were fifteen. His name was Steve C. and I can clearly picture him in my mind. I didn’t know him well; we really only saw each other once a week, on Saturdays, for the two hours it took to bowl in league play. He was a quiet kid, rarely spoke and rarely looked directly at you when he did speak. I remember he had a deformed left hand that he was very self-conscious of and I remember he was a pretty good bowler.

One Saturday we were bowling and we were entering the second game of the three game set when Steve grabbed his ball, approached the lane, and collapsed on the floor. I clearly remember the ball bouncing away, his head loudly crashing off of the hardwood as he went into convulsions and foam formed around his mouth. His eyes rolled back so that all you could see was white and he continued thrashing about as the feeling of complete helplessness overcame the rest of us on his team. Steve had an epileptic fit that morning and he recovered thanks to some immediate assistance by the owner of the bowling lanes. Steve and I remained friends for several years after and saw each other on occasion, but that image stayed with me as the years passed and I silently prayed I would never see that kind of thing happen again.

And then I did.

On January 9, 1969 I was home from college for the weekend. My dad had not been feeling well through dinner and the early evening. We were watching The Tonight Show together when he slowly got up and headed for the bathroom. Seconds later I heard a loud crash and I rushed into the bathroom to find my dad sprawled in the bathtub. He was half in, half out of the tub, thrashing his arms and legs, eyes rolled back, foam and drool at his mouth. He was having a heart attack. I ran to the phone, called 911, then raced back into the bathroom and held his hand. The force of his grip was so very painful as he held onto my hand in his last moments. I couldn’t look at his face, so distorted in pain and abhorrent to me, so I looked away, felt his life leaving him, and told him over and over again that I loved him.

This was the man who sacrificed everything for me as I grew up, made sure I went to college even though we really couldn’t afford it, made sure I had good clothes and money in my pockets and played catch each night with me. I was ashamed for years after his death for not having the courage to look at my own father as he died. I had never related those moments until I wrote my blog and now again in this Hub.

What did I feel when my dad had a heart attack and was dying in my arms? In truth I didn’t feel much of anything other than anxiety and shame. Adrenaline kicks in at a moment like that; you are so caught up in the moment that there is an absence of feelings; for me, though, I distinctly remember shame for not being able to look at my father while he was dying and anxiety because it seemed to be taking so long for the paramedics to arrive although I’m sure it only took them five minutes to get there.

Afterwards nature’s built-in protective device, shock, kicks in and you sort of sleepwalk through the next few days. After coming home from the hospital where dad was officially pronounced dead I comforted my mother until my sister and her husband arrived at which time I curled up on the couch and immediately drifted into a fitful sleep. I woke up the next morning and comforted my mother as best I could and then began phoning relatives. I was sort of on cruise-control, not really thinking, just doing what I felt needed to be done. My body was moving, decisions were being made, but very little thought was happening and feelings had been tucked away in some private chamber inside of me. I do remember thinking I needed to be strong for mom, that she didn’t need to see me slobbering in front of her.

Straight through to the funeral, rote movements, doing what I needed to do…phone calls, accepting condolences, taking care of business, preparing to return to college and making sure mom had someone to stay with her while I was gone. Then I was off to college once again, doing my studies, going through the motions of living, coming home on weekends to take care of mom, an intense feeling of emptiness inside like my guts, heart and soul had been ripped out that January night. I tried to be funny, to make my mother laugh, to be good-natured and strong and reliable, all the while pushing the darkness down inside where it couldn’t do any damage and couldn’t derail me because after all, I had a job to do, to be the supportive, loving son who could be counted on. And yes, there was resentment over that fact, that I wasn’t allowed to grieve, that I had to be strong, that suddenly I was the supporting pillar in the family, that I was too young to have to take care of my mother and pay bills and make weighty decisions.

I finally wept that summer over my dad’s grave and slowly, ever so slowly, life returned to me. There was not one moment when the pain lifted. It was rather a very gradual, one small increment at a time, process until one day I woke up and realized that I hadn’t felt lonely or empty in a few days, that I had smiled a bit more in recent days, that I didn’t feel quite so lost that week.

And life returns, eventually, for all of us who have suffered a loss; one day you can’t quite remember the sound of your loved one’s voice, and of course the tinge of guilt that accompanies that realization, but also, with it, a feeling that you have weathered a violent and damaging storm and managed to survive, because the death of a loved one is about survival for those left behind. It is about letting the natural process happen and eventually moving through the damage and pain and coming out stronger for it.

My mother never did come out the other end. She was never quite the same after January 9, 1969. She went through the motions and tried so hard to act naturally, but something inside of her died that night along with her husband. So, in fact, I lost a father and a mother that night and was left with…..memories.

I have learned in the years since my dad’s death that death should not be faced alone, that the least we owe each human being is to provide whatever comfort we possibly can in their final moments. I will be ready if it should ever happen again. I will look at them and provide strength and compassion. I owe them that as a fellow human being, and I also owe it to the memory of my dad.

If any of you have lost someone recently I have no words that can ease your grief. We all must go through the process. It is painful beyond belief and it seems that it will never end, but that process in itself is a reminder of the fact that we were lucky enough to have loved someone so much that their passing was indeed painful. We were lucky enough to have spent valuable time with that person, to have shared in their laughter and their wisdom, to have been the recipient of their love. It’s a hell of a price to pay for love, but the alternative is to not love and that, to me, is unacceptable

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Trinity, I do not know what it is about you, but I see you pop up with a comment and I break out in smile. Are you sure you don't want to move here so we can be friends close in proximity? It would be lovely to meet for coffee and share in person. Thank you my dear; his death no longer bothers me; I did what I could and that's all I could do at that time.

    • Trinity M profile image

      Trinity M 5 years ago

      Bill this is such an emotional and touching hub. I cannot imagine how it must feel to watch your father die in your arms, my father had a stroke in mine about 20 years ago and that was traumatic enough!

      Sometimes we carry so much guilt about things we think we could have done better… however the only thing that counts in the end is love, and your dad knew, without a doubt, that he was truly loved.

      He has left behind his legacy in you and if looking at the man you are is a reflection of your father, then I am certain he is smiling like a Cheshire cat knowing that he did his job WELL.

      Hugs and love to you always my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      N....I truly am sorry for your loss and yes, I do understand! My best to you, and thank you for visiting.

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      I cried reading this. I lost my father two years ago, and I miss him every day. I live 500 miles from where I was raised, and I don't go back home as much now, because the pain of walking in that house, and him not being there, hits me like a hammer every single time. If I don't go, he's not dead.

      It doesn't get easier. You just get better at hiding it. Some manage better than others.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      billips, you are so right! Memories like those will indeed last a lifetime for me. Thank you!

    • billips profile image

      billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Beautifully written and a great tribute to the man you loved - his qualities are the qualities of good men everywhere - I had a father, similar in many ways to yours - an honorable, honest and hard-working man - I held his hand as he died, over thirty years ago - in my mind, I can still hear his wonderful laugh and feel his strong arms around me - memories can always bring joy and comfort - B.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      NiaLee, I mourned for over a year....in many ways I'm still mourning. It is a devastating loss and one that does not go away soon. You need to grieve in your own fashion, in your own time, and sooner or later the pain will become less.

      Blessings to you and may you find peace.

      bill

    • NiaLee profile image

      NiaLee 5 years ago from BIG APPLE

      Great hub, I lost my father on July 4th 2012. I am still not really living, not really able to get out of the pain state. I am thousands of miles away from my family, I didn't get to see my father or bury him. My brother was at your place at the final moment and must be dealing with a lot of pain. What is worst? feeling guilty and lost for not seeing him or remembering that pain of life living his body? I keep on imagining his last breath and suffer every single time. They are all hard because we have lost somebody who gave us life, took care of us and looked out for our best interest until his last breath. I love him so much. We used to talk on the phone 2 to 3 times a week: he was my cheerleader, my adviser, my wise man, my priest. He would do extra prayers and give me extra blessings all the time. So, I suffer a lot, I just don't want to let him go. I feel like if I stop crying for him he will really be gone. Time, i need time. I printed his last pictures and can't put on the wall because I wouldn't stop crying. I was always daddy's girl and now I wonder what girl I will be.

      Love and peace to all and support to anybody dealing with loss.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      rdsparrowriter, it is very hard to visit someone who is dying...they never look as we remember them...the vitality is gone....it is sad....but I prefer to remember my father when he was alive and happy, full of life, and all the memories that surround him.

      Thank you my friend!

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 5 years ago

      An unforgetable memory of your father :) It's really nice and thank you for sharing with us :) At my father's funeral, I thought the body was someone else's, my father will come later and that everyone is mad. It took few months to swallow the pill of that my father will no longer come home. I was for many years mad with my mom for not taking me to see him at the hospital when he was sick. Only when I was 21 visited one of my friend's father at the hospital, I was able to realize why my mom didn't take me to the hospital. It was very difficult for me and I was very upset for a month. After getting closer to Jesus Christ only comforted me from the pain as my father was my best friend. I miss my father but I'm glad I had so many unforgettable moments with him which I love :) You are blessed beyond curse :) Take care

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, it truly is amazing how much we miss our parents...yes, the pain subsides, but is still very much there, just below the surface. I still miss my dad, forty years later...

      Thank you my friend! One day we will sit together as friends and discuss life.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Bill, as youngsters, we think we are very wise. This realization that our parents had the experience of living life which made them wise only dawns on us when we mature. This is a beautiful tribute to your dad.

      Though I lost my dad when I had a family and kids the impact was no less because of the suddenness. I still remember it took me almost 3 months to get to my working self. The pain is still there though numbed by the effects of time.

      I don't think one can ever get over the tragedy of losing one's parents. To this day, I miss his presence when I need counsel. And to think this happens even after 20 years of his death.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Spy, I am sorry for your pain my friend. Bless you and may you find happiness always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      bdegiulio, thank you and a Happy 4th to you and your family. If you are ever out this way again I'll meet you and buy you a coffee.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carter, thank you so much! The heartfelt wishes in comments are very touching.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, those moments never leave us...and that's as it should be. Thank you buddy!

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Hi Billy.. this is one story written from the heart. though i never had experienced the love of a father..he chose to be the father of 3 than to be with me..

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill, I have read you mention that you do not consider yourself to be a writer. Well, I have news for you my friend, you are an exceptionally gifted writer. Hopefully your story helps others who are struggling with the loss of a loved one. Well done. Happy 4th of July.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      This is a beautiful walk through your grief Billy...no easy way through the pain is there...but you are right it's better to have loved, yeah...well done you!! Up Awesome, beautiful & shared

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Happy 4th to you to Billybuc!!!

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Bill you have written from the heart again, with compassion and the wisdom that comes with time. I am sure that your dad would be proud.

      My dad passed away on my birthday in 2007 and the anniversary of that is only 14 days away. I have like you accepted his passing but the meaning of my birthday has never been the same.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, it is very difficult at the time, but as you said, now I look back and realize how lucky I was to be the last person he saw and the person that provided comfort for him when he died. Thank you my friend and have a wonderful and safe 4th of July.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      I was crying as I read this Hub billybuc. I am truly so sorry how you lost your father. The only person I lost that was there until the moment he passed away and took his last breath and I can tell you I too was so numb after it happened. It took quite a few years for me to come to terms with this loss. Now I feel blessed that I got to be there for him, because he truly was such a special person to me. I am just grateful that I was able to be with him until his drew his last breath. As hard is it was to be there and watch, now I do find some peace and solace from it if that makes sense. Voting this up and sharing too!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, it was painful but I no longer fear pain. It's one thing to lose your parent when they are eighty...painful but expected. It's a whole other ball of wax when you lose them when you are twenty and they are your foundation. Today I celebrate the time I had with him; I leave the mourning for others to do. Thank you friend!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      This is a very touching hub and there is eloquence in your pain. I have lost many so far but loosing a parent is not a bridge I have crossed yet. You are very brave to share your deepest feelings. This is a great reminder to appreciate your parents while you can.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      You are very welcome Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Josh, those times will etch themselves on our hearts and never go away. Thank you nephew; I truly appreciate your kind words.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Bill, this was heartfelt and written with deep emotion. These experiences are what help us to grow, no matter how tough they are. This reminds me of my grandmother passing away, I am glad my family was there to help me through this. Bill, your writing astonishes me more and more as the days go by! No matter what you are writing about, I can see the compassion and emotion! What a great tribute to your dad uncle Bill! Sharing this right now! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, thank you so much! I wish I could say the sun is shining but that would be a bit of a stretch. :) Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Annie, I know of only one way to write. Human emotions need to be felt...need to be written about....it is part of who we are and yes, there is pain, but with pain comes understanding and a appreciation for the happy times...a deep appreciation I might add.

      You are my kindred spirit on hubpages; I know that you know!

      bill

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you for sharing your dad's journey with us Bill. We continue to keep our father's memories alive by sharing our remembrances with others. Have a wonderful weekend...I hope the sun is shining for you!:)

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      Bill, your recollections of your Father's passing and the effect it has had on you touches me on so many levels. You write so openly and honestly, it's almost like you are here beside me telling me these words. I feel your deep love and respect for your Father. You were there with your dear Dad, and as he held your hand so tightly he felt your loving presence and he took that love with him when he passed over.

      Your last paragraph says it all, and not to have loved is unacceptable to me also.

      A very open and beautiful story that I relate to with the losses of my own Father and my Son, told with love and compassion.

      Best wishes to you my friend and thank you for opening your heart and sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, a nice surprise, twice in one day! Thank you my friend. You know all too well those dark times. I celebrate my dad now; the bad days are behind me.

      I'm sure Tyler and Bev will come up with something Sunday; I'm not big on days in my honor but I'll carry through it like a brave soldier. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill...you wrote this 4 months ago? Don't have any idea how it got past me, but nevertheless.......good time to have it go around again. A wonderful tribute to your beloved Dad, 2 days before Father's Day.

      and btw....You have yourself a very special day on Sunday......I'm sure your son and Bev will think of something to make you smile!!

      It simply hurts forever to lose anyone as precious to us as a parent!

      Blessings & Peace.....I hope for you that your love and fond memories replace the horror you had to experience on that day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Doc, well said...well said indeed! Thank you as always for the visit.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      It takes a lot out of you writing this, Bill and yet it is strangely cathartic. Your father was a great man and I'm sure he will be proud of his son/ You have written a wonderful tribute her. However, inevitable, death sears our hearts with fire and the scars never heal, merely mature.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Uzma, thank you so much. I think grief is something we all can relate to.

    • uzma shaheen profile image

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 5 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      death is the sadest reality of this world and every one has to face it somehow. while reading your hub I was totally relating myself, as I lost my father too and miss him very much.I can understand your pain and greive.thanks for sharing your memories.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, I hope you gave him a call and thank you for the visit.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Now I know how much I miss my father. I haven't spoken to him since three weeks. I will give him a call right now.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, wow, that is quite old to be a father...thank you for sharing your thoughts about him. I appreciate your words and visit.

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Billy, what a spiritually profound hub this one is. Actually, I always get funny feelings on Father's day, because, it is the day I took my father to the hospital in which he eventually died at. My Dad was very old and had me when he was 51 years old; he passed away in 1986 at the age of 74. I didn't have too good of a relationship with him, but he taught me a lot as he was very smart man---uneducated, but street smart.

      Your hub has brought me back memories. Great job and voted up

      John

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Daisy, you are welcome and thank you! After all these years I still miss my dad's guidance and counsel.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Bill,

      Thank you for sharing your memories with us. I have a lump in my throat as I'm writing this, my friend.

      I miss my father, but I have many loving memories that I cherish.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, we were just too young! We hadn't learned what we needed to learn yet and pain, for me, is one of the greatest motivators in my life. It appears that I often need to suffer to understand basic truths, and the truth I learned with my father's death and my subsequent mourning is that I need people and always will...for love, for sharing, for strength, for support...I need people. I feel as though we are old friends and I am so appreciative of you. Thank you!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Oh Billy what can I say??

      What does one say;except to say that this is another hub which again shows you inner warmth and strength!

      You are so right when you say that grief should never be

      faced alone but this is what I did when my sister passed away;but then I had no-one or I thought I didn't;I didn't cry either ;I couldn't cry

      The only ones who I can say I spoke to were our doctor when we were small and my sister had been friends with his daughter all the way through school and beyond.

      The others were two of my school teachers retired by now but don't seem to look much older ; they were husband and wife!!

      However what a difference to coping with my grief where Erin is concerned;I really do hope that my openess will help so many other;as I am sure that this one of yours will also help many.

      You are such a natural writer;and don't argue because you are!!ha ha!!

      Take care my friend thank you for sharing this gem and I bookmark into 'My special hubs' slot.

      Enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deborah, I greatly appreciate it. The personal stories I have read since joining HubPage have been incredible and I look forward to more from you.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I just lost my mother this past July.. I miss her so much. My father is very lost without my mom they were married over 60 years.. He is a wonderful father. He is retired army. He was in Korea when I was a baby and Vietnam twice. I have wrote about him and my mom.. Dad was a war hero...I love your hub.. I voted it way up

      Debbie

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leah, those are kind words and I do not blame myself any longer...witnessing a violent death is horrifying and few people will handle it well. I know that now and I am at peace with it...thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Leah Helensdottr profile image

      Leah Helensdottr 5 years ago from Colorado

      What a beautiful, hub, billybuc--it made me tear up. Please don't feel ashamed about not being able to look at your father; you were there, you held his hand, you called for help. You did the best you could. I'm sure he knew that and I'm sure he was grateful, though he couldn't express it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mj...you are very welcome and yes, we are, pretty damn lucky. My dad was easily the biggest influence on me and I have often thought how much I wish he was here to answer questions for me, to give me support and advice, to just tell me once again, as he always did, that it's all going to be okay! Thank you so much for following me!

    • mjwilliamson profile image

      MJ 5 years ago from Right Here

      Thank you so much for writing this! It was an amazing hub. I've been thinking alot about my dad the past few weeks; the anniversary of his death is coming up (Feb. 17). I was also with my dad when he died. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with; being there, realizing what was happening, and then realizing there was nothing I could do to stop it. My dad was an amazing man, and it sounds like your dad was too. We are both pretty blessed people to have men like them in our lives.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      cls67....you are more than welcome and if I have helped you in any way then I am smiling ear to ear...keep movingg forward and remember the love of your grandma.

    • cls67 profile image

      cls67 5 years ago

      Thank you Billy, I just recently lost my grandma a year in April and it has been the longest year with out her. Her and I had been very close. She was more like my mother, it is now very hard to learn to live without her, but I am finally realizing that she is in a better place now and no more suffering. She lived to be 90 years old and was healthy up until the three months before she passed, so I am very thankful for that. She was a wonderful lady and I am proud to know that I take after her in many ways. You have many interesting stories and thank you for your help with my writing and the questions that I have. I appreciate all of your help.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sandy...it is never easy and I'm not sure about the stronger thing either but I do know it is necessary.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      annart...thank you for sharing your memories and reflections...it's funny, but I'm adopted so I don't have any physical traits like my fathers but mannerisms and the way I look at life...all of that is very similar to the way dad was....anyway, thank you!

    • profile image

      Sandy Malzahn 5 years ago

      Very touching. I was nine years old when grandpa died so I only remember bits and pieces of those days that followed his death. Since then I have been at the side of Grandpa Walt, my Dad and My Mom at the time of their deaths and each time it is devastating. I don't know if it has made me stronger but I am glad that I could be with each of them in their final days here.

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      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      Great hub billybuc. I was really close to my father. My mother, too, never really recovered though she outlived him by 14 years. I'm lucky as my father was a prolific photographer, so I have his photos (& some of him fortunately as I inherited his interest) and some cine film, as well as some tapes he made of family when I was young (so I have his voice). He was also good at creative writing and plays so I have lots of his work and handwritten drafts to keep. It's important to celebrate what our wise/clever/loved ones leave behind - a wonderful heritage. I think they live on in our hearts and minds - I still talk to him!