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A Tribute to My Father - A Wonderful Man
My Favorite Photo of my Dad and I
My Precious Dad passed away this year, not even 5 months ago. It seems right that I write something about a man that made such a huge impact on my life and that I loved very much.
It is a very heavy thing on my heart, when I think about how much I miss him. He was by no means perfect, and none of us are. My mind seems to like to forget the bad things in general in life, and I have even been told this before like it is a bad thing. I will stick to the idea that its a good thing to recall the good, most of all. In the case of my Father, this isn't a hard thing to do, he was a good guy. I will even go a step further and suggest that this is the way things should be with those we love and that love us so much, for again, none of us are perfect. Love covers so much.
I get nearly overwhelmed and feel tears burn and swell behind my eyes sometimes when I remember some of the most simple and happy times together with my Dad.
A whole life lived, is still really so short in the grander scheme of things. My Dad was so fun, and so funny too. This makes me smile just thinking of it now. People couldn't help but to smile and laugh when he was around.
There was so much learning, much more than he could have ever realized he taught me. I think much if not most was quite by accident. My own love of life and the ocean and nature all come from him at least in part. Caring about people, and learning how to deal with things in some tough situations is another thing. Not taking life too seriously, and taking time to live it and love were other things he taught me. Lots of practical hands on things as well, like learning to swim, fish, having good manners, and saving my money. He liked to invest and taught me a lot of things about different animals and nature too. He taught me how to help others during hard times.
We traveled many places together in California mostly and some in Nevada and Arizona as well. He did come to visit my sister and just a few years ago in the Midwest when she still lived here. She flew him out as a gift to him I think, but of course it was a gift to all of us really! Thank you to my sister for that time! We all had the best time fishing with my boys and taking him around to different places. He loved meeting our dogs and seeing all the natural wildlife around us like wild turkeys. He told everyone back in California about the stories he experienced.
One of the most special things of all is that while Alzheimer's took my Fathers life ultimately, he never ever forgot my sister and me. From what I hear, that is very rare and is sometimes overcome by a strong emotive component in the mind. He also had COPD, which complicated matters in the end for him. That he remembered me, for all that he did forget seems just like him to do. I am not sure if it was the case 100% of the time with my sister as she lived there and he was often lucid but then other times not so much. He knew our names, even though he seemed confused by the time frame we were in.
My last visit out was supposed to be when he would die, being taken off of life support basically. (The last couple of years had me flying out by myself fairly often, every few months, because of his decline.) My sister really wanted me there, before he passed, as did I. This was the hardest thing, because I had to wait until the flight could get me there, but he was hurting on the ventilator. We cried together and they voted on what to do with my Aunt, Uncle and my Sister. She needed me to be there when he passed, and I got off the phone and cried that I could get to say bye, if he could just hold on.
I got there, drove fast to the hospital. My Uncle was holding my hand tightly, his hands were shaking, tears streaming down. My sister was being strong, the typical older sister! She was so brave the whole time even though her heart was breaking too, and it was the same for my Aunt I think. He was taken off, and I am sure he had no idea still what was going on. I think his body was just happy to get off the ventilator! I stayed all night, and was up all night with every cough or sound to check on him. I was not leaving his side. When I checked on him he looked at me and smiled and would say, "hi sweetie." I would ask him how he was, and he would say, "yes, I am doing ok, how are you?"
The neat thing was, he not only didn't die then, nor that week, but he lived on for a few more weeks. He seemed to really "rally" and give things a second chance! He was able to go home to his favorite care place, that loved him like family. A small home and they were so happy as we were. Before I left, we celebrated his birthday with cake and candles and a party with our family and friends there, and he smiled big for his pictures. He blew out his candles and I still can't convey my thankfulness for this last time with him. When I had to go, he didn't understand that I had to go, and wondered who told me I had to leave. He didn't remember that I lived in another state, and said, "who told you have to get on an airplane?" He never really understood that, and it broke my heart. He still smiled at me, and he could smile with just his eyes if he got tired. Later my sister and her friend said that he seemed to rally a bit for me, since I came out for that last part. This still makes me cry and probably always will, so happy I could spend some last great time with him.
Aww Dad, my Precious Sweet Dad. I miss you and its not over. Until the day I see you the next time, I will always love you and you will always be so precious to me and in my heart. Thank you for everything.