Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dear Old Dad

Early the morning of July 14, my father passed away.
We had kept vigil for three days and nights as he slowly slipped away.
My father was 89. He had a stroke and slipped into a coma. He never awoke.
We spoke to him, told him how much we loved him, and hope he heard us.
Two nights before he died, I spent the night in his room, sitting in a chair next to his bed, holding his hand. He seemed to squeeze my hand now and then--at least that is what I want to believe.
His big, strong frame seemed so small that night. His cheeks were sunken.
All that was left was a shell of the tall, strong dad who had helped me through my life.
I told him he was the best dad anyone could ever have and I couldn't have had a better one if I'd had a chance to pick one. I told him what a good job he'd done. How hard he'd worked and how he made sure we never lacked for anything, especially love.
The morning he was gone we stood around his bed and I hugged him tight to say goodbye. I felt as if a part of me is gone forever and my life will never be the same.
By any measure, he was a success, but a success in what counted most: showing love, giving selflessly of his time and treasure, being patient and being my biggest fan.
I miss him terribly. And while I know I had him with me far longer than most people have their dads, it still hurts.
It doesn't matter how old your parent is when he or she passes away. It hurts just as much.
Goodbye, Dear Old Dad. That's what he used to say when he'd call me on the phone or leave a message on the answering machine: "This is Dear Old Dad. No need to call back. I just wanted to tell you something."
The "something" I told him was how much I loved him.
I know he heard me. And that now he's at peace.
So long, Dear Old Dad.