My father, Hank Withey, who never wanted to be old

Arlene Mitchell

My father was only 78 when he died just 4 weeks ago. To a lot of people that may seem like a ripe old age to live to be, but to anyone who knew my father they will know that his time should never have ended so soon.

I don't recall my father ever slowing down, he still played golf all summer, almost daily, despite the fact that he had an artificial hip and knee. He was the life of a party, loved to joke around, loved to laugh, loved to be laughed at in fact. People loved him. I loved him.

He was 78, yet he only looked to be in his late 60's. He took great pride in this and in the fact that his hair wasn't totally grey, and that he still had all of it. I think he fancied himself a ladies man. Women did love him, but so did his men friends. Young people loved him, old people loved him. His family all loved him.

Dad was only 53 when my mother passed away. She too shouldn't have died so young. It's been 26 years since she's been gone and I still miss her. I was only 16 then and my memories aren't as strong as I'd like them to be, mostly I remember how rotten a teenager I was and how if I had it to do over again, I would have been nicer to her. It's taken me a long time, but I've forgiven myself. I don't have any guilt with dad. I'm happy that I knew him as an adult. My memories will be clearer but I know that I will still miss him 26 years from now as I will still miss my mother.

I live on the West Coast of Canada, my dad in the East. I went to visit him this summer after not having seen him for 3 years. I felt I'd better. He was fine in August, by September he was not feeling well, by November he was diagnosed with cancer and by December he was gone. I only got back to see him the morning he died, no one thought he would go so fast. He knew I was there, but couldn't speak. I wished I'd gone sooner, but treasure the fact that I was with him in the summer when everything was still right with my world.

Dad leaves a loving wife who wanted to dance with him into their nineties.

Dad, just so you know, she is like a mother to us and we will take care of her and make sure she's loved for the rest of her life.

Arlene Mitchell

I would appreciate mail from anyone who has also lost a parent, or parents .. [email protected]
mail welcome

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW