It’s a sad and wistful week.
I’m going to rectify that by sending good karma into the world, and tell you a little bit about my Dad.
A little over a year ago, Dad had a heart attack while voting in the February primaries. He actually managed to cast his vote before the ambulance arrived, and yes Mr. President, do thank him (!). We didn’t think his condition was serious, but to our surprise, a day later he was undergoing a nine hour open heart surgery. And still more surgery 2 days later because the doctors weren’t totally happy with things.
During that time, he sure didn’t look like my Dad. He was hooked up to a roomful of machines, with dozens of tubes and monitors. The stuff you see in those icky medical TV shows and movies.
When he finally awoke on Valentine’s Day, he promptly told my mother he thought she deserved that new car they had been talking about. Dad, always with a line that breaks up the room!
The recovery was long and difficult. We were so concerned he would never be himself again, but he managed to conquer the intense cardiac rehab. He ditched the walker, and tooled around the house and yard. He fixed himself a grand breakfast every morning, and he and Mom got out to dinner and movies. He watched his beloved Red Sox all summer.
Relief finally settled on us for awhile. Around Christmas, things started to go wrong. In a way that in your heart of hearts, you know isn’t going to have a happy ending. He had a stroke (unknown to us at the time), and suddenly it was 1974. The stroke also robbed him of his vision, so we weren’t sure what he could really see anymore.
You would think that he was a shell of a man, but in fact, the opposite was true. He told my mother every day when we arrived how good she looked. And what did we have for snacks, because he needed some energy dammit!! And how were the Bruins doing?
On what would be his final day, we had settled him into Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The nurses asked if he would like communion in the morning, and he thought for a moment. and said well sure, as long as it won’t cost me anything.
Dad, always cracking the room up!
That actually was our last moment together. We didn’t know that just a few short hours later, the doctors could no longer could do anything else, and he quickly passed. We walked through the cold dark night back to the hospital to say goodbye. At least he was at peace, and that was most important of all.
So on the week that would have been my parents 52nd wedding anniversary, as well as the day we honor our Dad’s, I wanted to share some of him with you.
This was Dad’s official Air Force photo. We kids always could see why Mom thought he was cute.
This was always my very favorite photo. We used to go to Nantucket every year, and he would always light up a cigar on the patio at the end of a long day of painting and climbing ladders.
This when was little Matt, my now 6 year old nephew was born. The boys were quite enamored of their grandfather.
Here were my parents on their 50th anniversary…
So each day, and especially this week, I hope I carry on his legacy, and that it to be like him. To be a good person, a kind soul with a sense of humor, and a responsible citizen of the world.
Make sure to spend some special time, send an extra funny card, or have a really nice phone conversation with your Dad this weekend. Honor him while you can.
I know I just have.