March 9, 2015

Good Bye, Dad

I got the late night phone call all adult children know is coming some day, but you are still never prepared: My dad was found unresponsive in his room at his assisted living facility Saturday night. All efforts to revive him failed. He had died.

Eleven days after his 91st birthday, he went to join his wife who passed away in December of 2010. As was his style, his latest doctor checkup pronounced him in good shape with no obvious issues. When asked how he felt, the answer was always the same: "Fantastic!" 

By all rights, a man born in 1924, who rarely exercised, had a quintuple bypass in 2002, smoked for twenty years, and lost his beloved wife of 63 years over four years ago should not have been a part of my life for so long. But, good genes and a stubborn will prevailed until a few days ago.

He was a tremendous dad to three sons, a grandfather to seven, and great grandfather to four. He provided a steady, loving hand to everyone who was honored to know him.

And, now I am experiencing the same feeling my wife did quite awhile ago when both her parents passed: being an orphan. It feels very odd knowing there is no parent to talk to, share something with, or celebrate holidays together. While dad's short term memory was pretty much gone and his interest in carrying on a conversation was severely limited, he was still my father and still enjoyed my visits and our time together at lunch. 

His dedication to my mom and what makes a marriage last have been a guiding light for me for the nearly 39 years Betty and I have been together. He was a simple man, dedicated to family, being a steady hand in all situations, and always sending out positive vibes and support.

Dad, you will be sorely missed. I love you.






71 comments:

  1. I am sorry to hear of your loss. He sounds like he was a true gentleman and an inspiration to you.

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    1. Gentleman is a good word to describe him. I could count on one hand the number of harsh words i ever heard him utter.

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  2. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, Bob. I pray your memories will be a comfort to you in the days and weeks ahead.

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    1. The whole family gathered together on Sunday for a time of sadness and a time of joy. Memories live on well past our physical bodies.

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  3. It sounds like your dad enjoyed a full life. The end years are always tough. Take comfort in the memories of having him for 91 years. "To everything there is a season..."

    Tom

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    1. He was independent and living the way he chose to live until the moment he died. How many of us would wish for anything else.

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    2. I agree...independent to the end and a quick painless exit...certainly the way to go...

      We lost my father-in-law this Valentine's Day at age 87 in a very similar way...quick and painless...

      I'm sure your dad was very proud of his family...his lifetime achievement and legacy...

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  4. Bob, the news of your father's passing was a bit of a surprise. You've spoken of his physical strength in previous posts, and it appeared he was going strong. We simply never know...Yes, we do feel like orphans when our parents pass. Saying goodbye to them brings about many changes, the obvious ones, as well as those that take place inside of us. The love of your family, friends, and your faith will carry you through the days ahead. You'll be in my prayers.

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    1. I did not get to say goodbye to him. But his quick death, without the misery of lingering for years like my mom, was worth that disappointment. He was in amazingly good physical shape for a 91 year old man - I think he could have passed for a man 10-15 years younger.

      Thank you, Pam, for your prayers.

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  5. I'm very sorry. You will have a lifetime of memories to comfort you.
    Jeff in OK

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    1. Your thoughts are appreciated, Florence.

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  7. Sorry for your loss, Bob.

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    1. Thank you. Just 36 hours after his passing and it is hard to think of him as gone forever.

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  8. Yes, it IS different being an orphan, no matter what age.While I have found that I hear both my parents in my head a lot (my dad passed away just this time in 1998 & my mom in May 2007) & I often feel they are with me, this does NOT replace them, nor did it make my loss less; I'm sorry. It's another change/adjustment.

    You and Betty are in our prayers.

    pam

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    1. I still catch myself still wanting to tell mom something, even 4 years later. My relationship with my parents was probably a bit unusual: I have no bad memories. There was never a time when I rebelled or felt alienated from them. We were close through our entire time together.

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    2. Bob, how blessed you are to be able to honestly say that about your parents and what a beautiful testimony to them! I am so sorry for your loss. Helen

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  9. Very sorry for your loss. God had a "room" waiting for him and you now carry on his legacy.

    Peace be with you

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    1. Carrying on his legacy is an honor. Thanks, Rick.

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  10. He was one lucky man... to live 91 good years and slip away quietly in the night. And it sounds like you were blessed to have had him for 91 years. My prayers are with you Bob.

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    1. Thank you, Judy. Yes, he ended the way I am sure he would have chosen. He would have picked whatever way was easiest for his family.

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  11. So sorry to hear about your Dad. I do know what you are going through - I lost my mother on Jan 3 this year at age 81 and my Dad 9 years ago yesterday at age 75. I too feel like an orphan and miss being able to pick up the phone and talk to her. I am also the oldest sibling. I do still have an Uncle, my Dad's brother and his wife who are in much better shape than my folks were. Really made me think about things when I realized that my Mom was only 19 years older than me. Still missing her very much, and I have never stopped missing my Dad either. I was very close to both of them, as you were to your parents. I guess time will make things easier, but they will always live on in our hearts.

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    1. Being the oldest son, and the one who lives here, I am the person responsible for all the legal and paperwork part that follows a death. He and mom were so organized that my job in that regard will be not too difficult.

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  12. Bob, my kindest regards to you and your family at this time of your father's death. No matter our age, we are always our parents' children and it's easy to revert to that need for them at the time of their death. I can see the physical similarity between you and your dad in his face. Trust that you will feel right with the world again.

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    1. I am doing quite well, considering. Having family all around us is the answer.

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  13. So sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. I too am an orphan, and it is a strange feeling to know that our parents are gone. My best wishes to you as you go through the days of grieving.

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  14. Sorry for your loss. Take care and rest easy knowing he is again with your mother.

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    1. Thinking of them together again is very comforting.

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  15. My deepest condolences Bob. But, great parents are never really gone. I'll carry the memories of mine deep in my heart for the rest of my life.

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    1. They will be deep in my DNA and in my personality for the rest of my life.

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  16. Sorry to hear of you loss, Bob. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I know the felling you mention when both your parents are gone. My mom passed on 2005 and my father in 1981. It is just my 2 brothers and myself now.

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    1. I have two brothers who are both younger than me who live in other parts of the country. We will make a special effort to stay together emotionally.

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  17. My sincere condolences on the passing of your dad, Bob. As someone who has lost both parents, the last being my mother in late 2012, I can empathize completely with what you are going through. It does sound like he had a good life, with a good wife and family, and that is much of what any of us can ask for. Enjoy the good memories, my friend, that will help assuage the hurt.

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    1. The memories and the lasting impact on my life and marriage are the gifts he has given me.

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  18. Bob and Betty, I am so sorry for your loss. What a shock. How blessed he did not suffer a long drawn out time though.. a peaceful transition. I still have a moment,usually while baking Christmas cookies from her recipes, when I go to pick up the phone and call my mom, who has been gone a long time.. I guess they ARE looking down over us, and sometimes we get the message-- it's just that we have to talk through our hearts,now, not the phone... I hope you find comfort in those wonderful memories you have!

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    1. I miss the phone calls and the joy in mom's voice when we talked about the kids or our vacations, or just life. I will miss the 2-3 times a month of lunch with dad. It will seem odd to not be sitting at "his" table again.

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  19. Sad to hear of your dad. You were blessed for a long time. You had the exact same feelings I had whenI became an orphan. Especially my mom. She was the link to the old neighborhood back in Chicago having lived there 60+ years. She is the one who told me about my old girlfriend Jill who had just become a grandmother. Who knew? Mom, of course. They are still in your hearts.

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    1. With a family as close as ours, the memories will only grow and become fonder with time. Thank you for your concern.

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  20. Bob, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. But what a gift to be "fantastic" right up until the end of life! (probably as much a matter of attitude as genes) I have found that my parents remain very much with me in my memory. I can hear their voices in my head and imagine what they would say about a given situation. Once I had such a vivid dream about visiting with my mother that I woke up smiling and marveling at what a wonderful visit it had been. -Jean

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    1. I wouldn't be surprised if after a bout of sickness that proceeded his death by just a few hours on Saturday he told the nurse that he was feeling fantastic. If he were being buried that would be the word on his tombstone.

      I actually stumbled across a cassette tape recording of my mother reading a children's story to my daughters when they were probably 7 or 8 years old. What a rush to hear her voice again.

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  21. My sympathy to you and your family. Your father was a fortunate man come to a good end, and you were so lucky to have had him for such a long time. My own father was pretty much a shell of himself when he died; but my mother was very much her self until the end, which came, like your father's, unexpectedly. I said when she died that the world seemed a completely different place without her in it, and fifteen years on, it still seems that way. I hope your memories are happy ones.

    That Other Jean

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    1. They will be always good memories. I have no other memories of my parents since there were never any bad ones.

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  22. Sounds like your dad lived well and left a fine legacy in his family. And an easy passing.

    Our condolences to you and your family.

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  23. Bob, I am so sorry for your loss. Words will fail many of us who care about you; it’s a loss that you are never quite prepared for. You were an amazing son. That was obvious from your comments and support that you showed your dad through the years. Saying goodbye is hard.

    Hopefully the next few days, weeks, will help with the healing process as those who love you and care about you surround you at a time you will need them the most. May you draw comfort in the wonderful memories, and the knowledge that he was proud to have you as his son. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

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    1. My nephew called earlier today after reading this post and the comments. He was amazed at the outpouring of support and love my readers show. I told him I expected nothing less. We are all a family, virtual though it may be.

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  24. I am sorry for your loss Bob and Betty. He, and your mother, will be with you and your children and grandchildren for all of your days through your stories of them. I am glad he went peacefully. My mother prays that is how she will go as well.
    It was a beautiful day in Phoenix today. I hope you got out and had time to think about him.

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    1. Actually, Betty and I had dinner tonight outside in our yard and talked about dad and the blessings of our family.

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  25. Bob, I am so deeply sorry for your loss of your father. My prayers are with your family during this time.

    Big hug,

    Tina

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    1. Thanks for the hug, and the thoughts, Tina.

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  26. We are sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad. Losing a parent is not an easy thing. Glad to hear you had him for so many years. Lots of memories in that time. Take care.
    ~Susan and Bob

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    1. Thank you, Susan and Bob. Yes, the memories are forever.

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  27. Sorry to hear this Bob. It sounds like you had a wonderful relationship despite recent challenges. I never thought of being an orphan when our parents pass as you so eloquently described. Remember the good times shared an take care.

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    1. Will do, Dave. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  28. Thank you for your openness during this hard transition. Somehow in this society, it seems our universal grief for the loss of our parents is trivialized when we are retired, ourselves. But for me, every person's acknowledgment that he/she loved his/her parents late into life and will miss them deeply, helps me accept. I will light a candle of gratitude for the lovely relationship you shared with your parents. Best wishes! Molly

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    1. Lighting a candle is such a nice gesture. Thank you, Molly

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  29. Bob, I've followed your blog for quite a while and just wanted to extend my heartfelt condolences on the passing of your Dad. I've been there with both of my parents as well and I couldn't help but feel those feelings again as I read your tender words. My prayers go with you and Betty and your children during this heavy hearted period. - Bob

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts. We are doing fine.

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  30. Dave and I were so sorry to hear of your dad's passing. We are in a similar scenario, as you know. We know he will be with your mom and that's a blessing. Lingering is difficult for everyone, and it seems he went on his own terms.
    Our sincere condolences,
    Barbara and Dave

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    1. He would not have done well with a long term nursing home/lingering condition. He went from just fine at lunch to gone just after dinner. Wouldn't we all wish for such a smooth passage.

      My thoughts are with you and Dave as he goes through a tough time with his dad.

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    1. Thanks, Daryl. He would have loved your hat.

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  32. My deepest sympathy. Praying that God comfort and console you in your loss.

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  33. Hi Bob,
    We are "brothers" in this together. My father passed away on January 28th after a extended battle with prostate cancer. I feel very blessed to have an amazing man to be my father, coach , mentor and cheerleader in my life. We are lucky. Not every man receives this gift.

    I promise to pass it to my son and daughter. It is the best legacy we can offer to our Dad's.

    God bless,
    Chris O.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. When you have a solid relationship with a parent there is a hole that never fully heals.

      I am blessed that our family is very close and loves to spend time together. Mom and dad set the standard.

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  34. Bob I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I'm just now reading this and I can't imagine how I'm going to feel as I still have both my parents and they're just now reaching their 80's. thank you for sharing your feelings with us. It was such warm & thoughtful blog.

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    1. Over a month since his passing and I can still see him sitting in his easy chair waiting for me to show up for a luncheon date. He left his three sons nicely protected financially, but much more importantly, he left a memory of a man completely dedicated to family and his wife of 63 years.

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  35. Sorry to hear about your father's passing. I could not read the post as I just lost my mother on July 1. I'll come back to this post at a later date.

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