My Dad, Richard, 57, died suddenly two years ago over Memorial Day weekend. It was a cold, dark, and rainy morning. As I awoke that morning I thought, what an awful day for a party. Then, I remember being thankful that all our family and friends would show up to congratulate my sister Lynn for her college graduation and to congratulate my son David for making his confirmation. My brother Rick and his wife Kim had come up from North Carolina to be with us to honor Lynn and David.
Well, Dad passed away early that morning on May 28th, 1995. He died of congestive heart failure caused by pericarditis. Dad had been working with Mom in the garden the entire day before he died. He had wanted to get the garden's done. After the gardening, we raised the flagpole all the kids had bought Mom and Dad for Christmas. David played the Star Spangled Banner on his clarinet the US Flag was raised. I remember looking at Dad with tears in my eyes. The US Flag and the National Anthem have always been special to me as I am know they were to my Dad. In fact, to this day, anytime I see a US Flag waving or hear the national anthem, I think of my Dad.
Dad was a very special, caring man. If there was anyone who ever needed a hand, there was Dad, offering to help. He never asked for anything in return. A month before he passed, we were at our soon to be new church. We were at a get together to introduce ourselves to the members of the church. Each of the prospective new members had to talk a little bit about themselves. When it was Dad's turn to speak, he talked of being retired from the company he had worked for 30 years and how he was now driving a school bus and loving it. He then spoke of how much he loved and cared for Mom and how proud he was of all his children and grandchildren. You see, my Dad loved kids. Big ones, small ones, good ones, or troublemakers, it didn't matter to Dad. Dad saw the goodness in everyone. He was always there when his kids or grand kids wanted to play soccer, or baseball, or cards, or a board game. He would bandage scrapes, hold you when you bumped your head, or jump with you into the pool to make a big splash. Dad coached a challenger baseball team. (Challenger teams are for mentally and physically challenged children and young adults.) If you could have seen the looked on his face when one of kids made it to first base, or threw the ball in the direction of home. He would beam with love and pride for all "his kids".
I miss talking to my Dad face to face. I do still talk to him and I sense he is listening to me. I miss him terribly. I know I always will. But, I can picture Dad up in heaven, gathering all the kids together and playing ball with them, taking them on a hike, or taking them on a school bus ride. I am sometimes overcome with tears as I think of the things Dad won't be here on Earth to see. I think of all his grandchildren's plays, graduations, marriages, and great grandchildren he'll be missing. And just as I think I can bear it no longer, some fond memory of Dad will pop into my head and make me smile. I think that is God's way of helping me to see that Dad is still with me, as long as I keep my memories alive. Dad, I know you are here with me now as I write these words. Thank you for being such a wonderful Father to Lynn, Rick, and me. Thank you for being fair with us as you taught us how to be good people. Thank you for being a great Husband to Mom, a terrific brother to your siblings, and a wise and caring grandfather to David, Cassie, Evan, and Stevie. You have always been someone I've looked up to and aspire to be. I wish we would have had a moment before you passed so I could say these words to you. I am thankful you died quickly and peacefully. I'll be seeing you again someday. Keep thinking of us, as we do of you. I love you. Semper Fi!
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anniversary date 05-28-95
date of post 10-20-97