Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daddy's Victory Lap

My Daddy passed away quietly in his sleep early on Sunday morning. He had been off his medications for six days. This meant clarity of mind, *and* renewed taste buds! I spent hours and hours with him, holding his hand. Friday morning he told me he had shared another beer with my brother. "I finished that one!"

Sunday morning about 1 am, the nurse checked on him. He asked her to change the movie in his dvd player, and he wanted a couple of pieces of candy. When she went back an hour later (which was then 3 am because of the time change), he was gone. After she called, my two brothers and our spouses gathered for a couple of hours at his bedside. Every once in awhile one of us would get up to kiss his forehead. I knew he was gone, but, after all, his body is how his "real self" interfaced with us. I will miss his kisses and hand-holding very much.

Daddy loved bow-ties. Mother did not care for them. Dad used to say, "Mama, if I go first, bury me in a bow-tie." Mother would say, "no, I won't!" Shortly before she died, she pulled me aside and said, "if Daddy dies, you can put him in a bow-tie."

What is really cool is that I have seven of his bow-ties! Five of them are 40's-50's style, and two of them are the 70's variety. So I have one for him, and six for his grandson-pallbearers.

The girls are not going to be left out. Daddy joked with me all my life about my gum-chewing: "Just like Mama, cracking her gum." Forget-me-not is her generation's champion gum-chewer. She shared many a joke with her grandpa. And not far behind is three-year old Sweet Pea--I never see her anymore without a piece of gum in her mouth. Now, it may look funny, with all the girls chewing gum at the graveside, but Daddy will get the joke!

The funeral is Thursday, but since Wednesday is St. Paddy's Day, we're going to have an old-fashioned Irish wake. The men are going to pass around Daddy's pipe and have a proper send-off to a special man.

I may have told you before, that, waiting for him in heaven were his wife of 64 years, and nine of his children. What a reunion that must have been! My father lived an exceptional life, burying seven of his children (two children were miscarried). Through all that my parents went through, Daddy never turned to drink. Never became a workaholic. Turned with his wife to the Lord. When the doctors told them not to have any more children, he said, "We will trust the Lord." This is the example he gave for us, all the years of his life.

For Daddy's 50th high school reunion, he wrote about himself, "I am a simple man, who has lived a simple life, raising a family with a wonderful woman." For his obituary, I changed that a little. I wrote, "he was an extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life."

He fought the good fight; he ran the good race. This past week was his "victory lap."

I love you, Daddy. It was so easy to realize how much my heavenly Father loves me, because of the way you loved me. We thank the Lord for your life, and that He chose to share you with us.

If you'd like to read Daddy's obituary, go here.


CCF said...


I am broken hearted for you and gloriously happy for you at the same time. To have loved so deeply a deserving man who cherised you! You are truly blessed.

You are in my prayers today and tomorrow and in the future.


Mommy K said...

*tears* Grandpa became my favorite Grandpa by far over the last 8 years. I'm so glad to have known him and to have people to clone my life after...you and him. =)