Dad rarely did anything mundane. Unless it was eating a burger at Murphy’s. Even the pandemic age in which he declined was unique. Dad chose a strange yet remarkable time to die.
Dad complained in his sunset days that he couldn’t taste anything, his eyesight grew dim, he couldn’t feel much of anything in his feet, but he never lost his heart, his memory, his connection to those he loved.
One of the enduring images of watching his earthly body fade was Mom reading Facebook comments to him. Mom often read to all six of us in the car on vacations, assorted books, Reader’s Digest jokes, the Bible. It was this traveling voice in the car she used as she read hundreds of your comments to Dad in the past few weeks.
The evening before Dad died, we were talking about how Dad received such a blessing of stories and encouragement. And while the simple act of presence, of hugs and tears and touch, cannot be replaced in this moment of loss, you gave my Dad such a blessing through your words!
One of my happiness childhood memories was sitting in an IHOP about an hour from Cincinnati. I asked my Dad for a dime to buy a newspaper and immediately turned to the sports page while eating a stack of pancakes with blackberry syrup. I said to nobody in particular, “Hey, the Cards are playing the Reds in Cincy!” And Dad said let’s go. He was flexible, different, more playful on vacations away from the stress and details of running a construction business. That’s how I remember him today as we say goodbye. My Dad will always be the young strong clear skinned Dad…the one who took us on vacations, and knew how to fold a road map with one hand, and took the curves up Pikes Peak on two wheels.
Today as I watch the sun come up, I think about how blessed we have been by so many who have called, texted, messaged, and commented. Thank you for giving Mom and Dad such a great gift of presence and love!
Today we say goodbye, but the last few days have been a balm to our souls. Thank you!