Early in the morning on Mother's Day, one of the greatest men I will ever know quietly slipped out of my living life. My father had been suffering from Alzhemier's for some time. About 1:30 AM my Mom called, and my youngest son, Cody answered the phone. I heard him say, "You need help? I'll be right there." He and I jumped in the car, and drove to my parent's house. An hour or so later, my dad slipped away as I sat on his bed holding his hand. It was very quiet, and beautiful. And I am so very thankful to have shared that wonderful moment with him.
For the past few years I have stopped at my parent's house every morning on my way to work and every evening on my way home. Every Sunday I would sit with Dad while Mom went to work. She retired several years ago, but enjoyed getting out that one day a week and earning a little extra spending money. Those Sunday's are now some of my most precious memories. Somedays we talked, somedays we watched movies, and somedays he slept while I wrote. But everyday ended with a hug and a kiss. Most days he'd say, "Thanks for stopping."
The past week has been the longest, and the shortest week of my life. We had two services, one local and one in Northern Minnesota, which was always "home" to daddy, and where we buried him. It was hard to say good-bye, and even harder watching my three sons loose their Grandpa. At the same time, I felt extremely blessed. My three little boys have grown into three wonderful, young men. And their Grandpa was very proud of each one of them. That pride filtered into my heart at one point on the trip north. As each one of the boys, driving their own pickup and/or car, pulled out of the gas station where we had all filled our vehicles with gas, Justin the oldest, with his girlfriend, Connie, Dallas, the middle, with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Isabelle, and Cody, with his girlfriend, Sarah, I waved and watched the convoy, and felt my Dad in the car beside me. "You have a lot to be proud of there," floated across my mind, and I know it was him.
One Saturday, a few years ago, just Dad and I went to an old car show and had this picture taken. It was one of his favorites, and an eight by ten of it sat beside his chair until last Sunday.
I miss him very much, and am so very thankful that God had chosen him to be my Daddy all those years ago.