Thursday, June 12, 2014

What My Dad Taught Me

My Dad passed away 5 years ago. He was 94 and in near-perfect health until the age of about 90 when prostate cancer was diagnosed. He still lived independently, although with lots of visits and meals brought over by my brothers and me. My mom died 10 years before him, so after 50 years of sharing his life, he managed 10 years on his own.

My mom lived 25 years with Parkinson's Disease before much was known about it. Michael J. Fox went public with his diagnosis shortly after my mom died and then it became well-known. During the last 9 months of my mom's life, my Dad cared for her lovingly, unconditionally, and without hesitation. The doctors recommended a nursing home, but he would not hear of it. After she passed I knew there was no greater love than what I had witnessed for the last 9 months.  

My Dad moved into a smaller home, nearer to my brothers and their families, where he would spend the next ten years enjoying his grandchildren immensely. At the same time, I bought a newly built home myself and stayed with him for 3 months while my house was under construction. I didn't think much of it at the time; it just worked out best. I found out later that my being there with him those first 3 months was a true blessing. This strong, cheerful, quiet man was nervous about the newness - new home, new appliances, new neighborhood, and he felt my presence was a blessing. I guess it didn't just work out that way, but rather was meant to be. He adjusted during those 3 months, while I never even knew he had a concern. I am grateful for that time with him.

My Dad died a beautiful death, in his home with all of his family around him. While he was in a coma at the very end, we spoke to him and could see reaction from within. We watched him take his last breath and the next night he appeared in my sleep and told me, "Everything will be okay. Mummy and I will be waiting for you in heaven." I was so moved and so pleased that he was back with his one true love. 

My Dad taught me true, unconditional love for spouse and children. I was engaged and married on Father's Day weekend and every year I get to celebrate the man who taught me about true and unconditional love, and the man who is that for me now.

Happy Father's Day, Boss!


  1. This is a lovely tribute, Mary. Thank you for sharing these deeply personal recollections and thoughts.



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