June 16, 2013
My Treasured Followers:
I will return to my “regular posts” next week.
For today, I would like to honor my passed-away Dad and hope you will join me in that sharing.
with my sincerity…
This is my first Father’s Day without you. My welling tears confirm I feel emotional.
On one level, such vulnerability is surprising. Your belligerent attitudes and behaviors throughout the progressive decline that marked 2011 into 2012 were certainly nerve-wracking. Just short of your 90th birthday, I was at my wit’s end with despair and depletion.
On another, my sentimentality is not astonishing. There’s “just something” about fathers and daughters. I was and remain your pride and joy forever.
Yes, much has been integrated since your transition on August 26th.
Your legendary stubbornness formed a distinct reason for authoring my latest volume. Virtually all lessons passed along to adult children of impossible aging parents were dealt by your recalcitrant hands.
Since we laid you to rest in September, I have simultaneously acquired a more-tender understanding of elders’ knee-jerk reactions. You didn’t mean to hurt me while fearing to cross death’s unknown doorstep.
To this day, I feel peaceful for seeing one another through to the “end”. We gardened and grocery-shopped together. I cooked you precisely 18 hard-boiled eggs each visit. You were always my protective Dad until a devastating hospitalization during the last five weeks of your life.
To honor your memory, here are my “Top 10 Gratitudes” as your beloved daughter for 54 years:
- You and Mommy truly wanted me. Many unfortunate children cannot say they were cherished right from birth.
- Despite limited funds growing up, you always provided. Not all fathers can make this claim; many shirk their responsibility. Not you!
- Remember how often we played Frisbees, shot basketballs and tossed baseballs? I sometimes wondered if you secretly wanted a son! Not really, right?
- Celebrations like birthdays and Christmas were happy family times. You went out of your way to make them special.
- Our trips – big and small – were amazing in retrospect. Those well-worn black and white photo albums sit amongst my prized possessions – a comfort when pining for you.
- You have my endless admiration for the sheer grit of wresting yourself back from the brink of alcoholism in 1984. The strength and determination that took!
- Words will never express what our turning-point dialogue meant, when you owned up like a man for the anguished impact your drinking created.
- I deeply respect knowing from your “history” that you singularly defended the rights of that black Church League baseball player in an era when segregation was rife. You inspire your Warrior Woman “girl child”!
- Your stewardship of integrity, principle (not principal!), courage and excellence is permanent. You brought me up right.
- How often I have felt appreciated for Who I Really Am by you. To see someone in their Essence is an incredible gift.
Never mind that you “left behind” a daughter who shall carry the torch of your core values until her last breath.
Since publishing Coping with Un-cope-able Parents: LOVING ACTION for Eldercare, so many have pleaded for a “silver bullet” – as if there were some magic formula for surviving a difficult father or mother.
We both realize it’s a journey, don’t we? In our case, make that a gruelling marathon whose endurance I seriously doubted while in the race’s heat!
You know what else I confirmed, though? “It ain’t over until it’s over.”
Your burial wasn’t the end. Closing the sale of our family home painstakingly built in 1963 wasn’t the completion. For sure, turning keys in locks a last time in April 2013 was an enormous milestone – almost 8 months after your loss.
What I’ve come to know for sure is insights will continuously unfold, likely for the duration of my planned 112 years. I look forward to their ongoing arrival!
In the meantime, thank goodness I had the intuition to save several of your last phone messages. I listen to them bi-weekly and derive great comfort from hearing your voice on Earth.
I miss you regularly and love you very much, Daddy.
Your ever-lasting daughter,