Posted by: jude49 | June 16, 2013

Remembering My Dad…

Hello Everyone,

My father died on August 17, 2008, just 10 days after his 85th birthday.  And today is Father’s Day…

I miss my dad.  I never realized until after he died how much he taught me, how much he did for me and how much more I could have learned from him if I had shown more humility and been more teachable.

Every night before bed, I catch a glimpse of the framed picture of my dad and me taken on my parents’ 5oth anniversary.  In the picture, my head touches his, and both of us are smiling.  It is my favorite picture of me and my dad.

Life with my dad was not easy.  He had a tendency to be negative, and I felt that I could rarely, if ever, please him.  It wasn’t until the last couple of years of his life that I started to know my dad.  It was an insightful experience for me that explained many conflicts we had experienced for many years.  For the better part of six months, my dog, Pippin, and I spent much of our time staying with dad in his assisted living complex.  My mother had been moved to a nursing home, and my father was failing quickly.  His gait was less than stable, and it took him at least an hour to undress himself at night.  Finally, totally exasperated and exhausted, he would reluctantly ask for my help.  It pained me to see my dad, THE fix it man, struggle for 15 or more minutes trying to undo his belt buckle.

In those last few years, I learned much about my dad.  I learned he wanted to be an actor!  He told me about his painful and harsh relationship with his father.  We did things that I never thought we’d ever do together. We drank too much Root Beer, devoured an inordinate amount of dark chocolate and ate far too much Maple Walnut ice-cream.  Some times he didn’t like what they had for dinner so we dined out!  He went through old photo albums with me and told me the stories behind many of the pictures.  He told me about life on the prairies in the 30’s and 40’s.

One night while I was washing up the dishes, he looked at me from his rocking chair in the living room and said, “Well, you never thought you’d ever be taking care of me, did you?”  He was right; I never thought I could stand being in the same room with my dad for more than a couple of hours.  Now, I enjoyed his company and he mine.

One night when it after midnight, I heard him making his way from his bedroom to the bathroom.  Instantly, I was wide-awake.  Pippin jumped down to greet him as he walked back to his bedroom.  For some reason, I got out of my bed and walked into the living room.  Dad, who loved dogs, was moving his walker back and forth playing with Pippin.  “You’re dancing, Dad!”  In a moment, all three of us were dancing together.  My dad had his arms around me, and my arms were wrapped around him.  Pippin was “dancing” in and out and around Dad’s walker.  We started to sing and sway to our music.  The room was dark except for the shafts of light that slithered through the blinds.  It was nothing less than magical.

So, tomorrow, I’ll eat dark chocolate, eat some maple walnut ice cream, water my begonia (dad’s favorite plant), look at his picture, talk to him, cry some and remember how fortunate I am to be his daughter.

Blessings,

Judith

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