Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rest in Peace Dad

May 18, 1947 to June 6th 2008

My father passed away in his sleep last Friday. While he was having various health issues, all surrounding his diabetes, he had a strong mind and spirit. It is a shock to know your dad won't be calling any more, but I am at peace knowing that he is in a better place without pain. We had a memorial service for him today at his church. I was surprised at how many people showed up to the memorial service. Quite a few friends showed up, co-workers, Dad's friends, church member, and Jim's parents. I can't put it into words how much it meant to me that my friends got off of work and came to my dad's memorial service when they had only met my dad once or twice. It fills my heart with love and comfort to know that I have friends that will be by my side during the good and the bad times. And I have received so many positive messages as well as offers to help out from my friends that are not in town.

I can't thank everybody enough for their kind words and their support.

I have attached my speech for my dad's memorial service. It might have been the hardest thing I have had to do in my life. I wasn't able to get through most of it because I would start to cry every time I would look down at it. I think I gave a very loose version of the speech. I managed to say "damn it' and "badonkadonk butt" during the speech, which shocked the husband. :) I knew I had to stand up and share what made my dad special with all of the people that showed up. I have attached the speech for those of you that weren't able to make it today.

My speech for his Memorial Service:

Thank you all so much for coming today. It means the world to my family and of course my dad. I know my dad has touched many lives over the years just as you have touched his. My conversations with my dad consisted of a lot of telling me about his friends, who he met, what new recipe he tried, potluck dinners at church, and what was happening with his doctor’s appointments. . Your friendship was cherished by my dad and it helped him get through his many struggles. My dad has had plenty of heath issues over the past few years, but it never got him down. I don’t know how he kept such a positive attitude and outlook. If I was faced with losing my eyesight I would have been bitter and angry at the world. My dad was always looking forward to the future when the doctors might be able to correct his failing vision. I don’t know how he did it, but I will certainly adopt his attitude the next time I am faced with a crisis in my life.

He once told me that when he passes away he did not want me or any family or friends to mourn him, but to celebrate his life. If he knew how much I have cried over the past 6 days he would probably be pissed at me. So in true fashion of keeping things light, one aspect of my dad that I wanted to share is that my dad never met an ice cream bar that he didn’t love.

My dad introduced me to cooking and baking. I’m sure my dad has made some type of cake, cookie or cheesecake for more than half of you. I had to cut back on what I ate so I could keep my girlish figure. My dad completely enjoyed cooking and finding new recipes. But what my dad enjoyed even more than cooking was watching the enjoyment on the faces of the people that were eating his goodies. When my dad spent time in the VA hospital he found every single magazine and wrote down the recipes that he found. Then when he was well enough and went home he tried out most of those recipes and shared the good recipes with me. Even though he was adjusting to only having one leg, he also baked quite a few cookies and cakes for the nurses that took care of him during his stay. He didn’t stop to pity himself; he kept on going like the energizer bunny.

In fact, the day before he passed my dad, with the help of his friend Robyn gave us a 10 pound bag of onions. Now for some of you this might not seem like a good thing, but these are sweet Vidalia onions, which we are big fans of. Since they are only in season during a short time of the year, my dad took the time to go to the grocery store, and then drop them off to my house so I can use them. I frequently had little bags of grocery’s left on my door stop after my dad went shopping. Even though he lived alone he loved to shop at Costco, so he split his goodies with me. We would always talk about how to cook the onions and which ways we liked the best. Quite honestly we couldn’t find a way that we didn’t like onions.

My dad loved all animals which is a good thing because he had 3 furry grand kids. My husband and I have two dogs and my brother has one. I swear my dad came over just to see the dogs and play with them. He would love to roll around on the floor as the dogs licked his face and played around with him. My dogs knew that when my dad stopped by, it meant that they were about to get plenty of treats. Just like a good grandfather, he always showed up with plenty of treats for the kids. No matter where he was, if he was at a 5K, walking down the street, at a festival, he would always stop to love on an animal.

My life will be different without my dad in my life. Like, who am I going to call when I break something in the house and I don’t want my husband to find out? While I think I am the queen of the power tool, I tend to make things worse rather than better at fixing things at the house. I would call my dad to find out what type of paint would be best to use, how to patch a hole in the wall or get a stripped out screw out of the way. I knew that if we were stumped on how to fix something or improve it in the house, dad always had an idea. Now, the idea’s or suggestions weren’t always feasible, but he was certainly creative. There is a picture that I have up of my dad in his wheelchair cutting laminate wood flooring. I got a call from my dad requesting my help laying down the wood flooring. I haven’t done it before and I can’t really say that I’m an expert now. I was so amazed at his stamina and determination to continue to work on his house. We tried and tried and tried to lay the floor down, but it just wasn’t working. As soon as we would get one row down and start on the second row, the first row would pop out. Sooooooo frustrating. Unfortunately we weren’t able to figure out what we were doing wrong, so we ended up having to all in an expert. Apparently we were laying the floor down backwards. OOPS. I’m not sure I’ll be laying down wood flooring any time soon.

My dad will be missed by all but I know that he is in a better place. Thank you again for coming out to say good bye to my dad.

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