My Dad passed away August 31st as I was driving through the traffic in Atlanta. He tried to wait for me to get there, but he just couldn't make it. I am thankful that he was surrounded by the love of my extended family as he passed on. My step-sister, Glenda was holding his hand and told me that he was very peaceful as he just stopped breathing and slipped away quietly.
That was how my Dad was. He never wanted to be a bother to anyone. He was always the one taking care of others. This last week has passed by in a haze. It seemed to pass by so quickly and yet, everything seemed to be in slow motion.
When asked for some stories about Daddy that we might want included in his eulogy, my mind went completely blank as others told theirs. I was driving home and remembering all the little quirky things that made me smile when I thought of him. Had he been there in the car with me, he would have read every billboard and road sign aloud, some of them in a song. I find myself doing that sometimes.
Twenty years in the Navy, he never learned to swim. He always refused to get in my pool, even though I would tease him and offer to get him some water wings. He would sit there by the pool to keep me company and read a book. He passed his love of reading on to both of his daughters.
A wonderful father, he was first and foremost an exceptional husband. Loyal to a fault, he gave my mother a wonderful life. He was attentive to her every need and her passing left him quite lonely. He decided to sell his home and move to the Veterans home in Gulf Port, Mississippi. Although the quarters were quite small, he managed to organize everything he wanted to keep. He was quite particular about keeping everything in order.
He made friends easily and would tell me about them in our weekly calls. Nearly all of them eventually required help and Daddy was right there to help, just as he was with my mother. After the third guy he had befriended died, I told him to stop making friends, he was reducing the population!
He visited me often here at the campground. Everybody in town knew my Daddy, even if they didn't know me. He was just so likable. During one of his visits, he told me that he was thinking of moving into the campground and nothing would have made me happier; but he also told me that he was corresponding with a special lady.
Daddy never moved here, but he did leave the Veterans home after he courted and married that special lady. She is still quite special to me. They had 10 wonderful years together. So happy, they still held hands and were constantly proclaiming their love to one another.
Daddy was always optimistic and when he was given his diagnosis, he accepted whatever treatment was available to him. He was determined to be with us as long as he could. The biggest obstacle was having others take care of him. This was out of character for him.
I long to pick up the phone to call him just one more time. I guess everyone feels that way when they lose a loved one. I take comfort in knowing that we said all the things we wanted to say to each other during all of my last visits.