I've been trying to write this blog for three weeks. It had to be perfect as it is a tribute to the most important man in my life.
On May 8th, for the second day in a row I to see my dad in the hospital in Beeville. He was so weak, in so much pain, and knew the end was near. The nurses in the ICU ward turned a blind eye to the visiting hours and let anyone go in at any time. I went in to tell him I was going home. I took his hand -- it was so cold -- and said: "Dr. Larakers is letting you go home, so I'll see you at the house tomorrow." He patted my hand and said: "I'm looking forward to it hun." Then I said: "I love you." He said: "I love you too."
I left at 6:00 pm.
A few minutes after 9:00 pm, I got the call -- with my mom, my sisters and his beloved Border Collie, Jake, at 8:55pm, my dad slipped away....
Words cannot describe this loss, but my nephew, Daniel Sullivan, tried.
"No one ever spoke more honestly, worked harder, or loved more fully. He meant so much to so many. He was truly loved by all those fortunate enough to have him in their lives. The world has lost an unbelievably great man".
And an ubelievably great man he was!
The first time I met him, I cried. I was eleven years old and he was taking my mother on their first date. I cried because he was so tall and stern looking that I thought that he was going to take my mother away and never bring her home again. It didn’t take long, though, for him to win me over. He gave me my first "grown up" perfume and my first Valentine’s Day Rose.... He also showed me how a man treats the woman that he loves.
In July 1976, he and my mother married – we became a "blended family". He had 4 children and my mom had 4. He had 3 daughters and 1 son – my mom had 3 sons and 1 daughter. So we were a combination of the Brady Bunch and the Eight is Enough Family. During the next 33 years, we really did "blend". In the beginning, we feared and respected him... then we learned what he expected from us and what to expect from him. Things were smooth. He was pretty much an old softie, but always let my mother have the final say. They never referred to us as "her kids" or "his kids"... It was always, "our kids". Step wasn’t in our family’s vocabulary.
He walked my step sisters down the aisle when they got married -- I was afraid to ask him when I got married -- I didn't know if he'd WANT to -- When I came out of the Bride Room, there he was -- all smiles and love! The absolute BEST day of my life made even more memorable by such a wonderful man.
I’ve mentioned that he loved my mom... I just can’t articulate sufficiently just how much he loved her. ... He treated her with respect and demanded that we children treat her with respect. He backed her up in her punishments, even if he didn’t agree with her. He never, EVER let us know he thought she was in the wrong.
Every evening, after dinner, my dad would get up from the table and kiss my mom and thank her for the meal... And every morning, my mom would bring him a cup of coffee to wake him up.
She loved him too! In the last years of his life, she was his nurse. She refused to put him in a nursing home even though he couldn’t get up on his own, and couldn’t do things for himself... she told me: "It’s my duty to take care of him. I took a vow of better or worse, sickness and health..." Even though it was hard, she gave him as much dignity as possible in the last 2 years.
I have so many lovely memories of him, and way too many to list in a blog... I am blessed for having known him and having him as my dad... I am blessed for having the opportunity to have been able to tell him, before he left, just how much he meant to me and how much I love him.
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