Friday, August 01, 2014
I'll Love You For Always. I'll Miss You Forever.
On Tuesday afternoon, I lost the best Dad. You might think you have the best Dad but I'll fight you on that. I had the BEST Dad. He always made me feel safe, loved and wanted. He would do anything for me and for the rest of our family. He found his granddaughters to be the greatest delight. He LOVED being a Grandpa.
At Easter Brunch this year, he said that he had some hard news to share. He had gone to the ER the Friday before with abdominal pain. He thought he had a gallstone but instead some masses were discovered on his liver, bladder and pancreas. He told us that he had an appointment with an oncology doctor that following week. I went with him that to appointment and the following one where they determined that he had Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. I remember calling Scott on the way home after the appointment and wailing. Scott came immediately home from work and just sat with me. We moved forward as a family though. We like to look for the brighter side and we looked hard with this news. I had family portraits taken and we had a lot of family meals. But my Dad grew weaker with each week of chemo. His first session was as expected. His second session was pretty good but this last one was hard. He started to lose weight and stopped eating. He looked tired and weak. My Mom and him planned a trip to Hawaii though. He wanted to go one last time. Then last week he went in for his weekly round of chemo where he collapsed and was admitted to the hospital with an infection. I visited him on Thursday night and got his car. He looked ok. I honestly thought he'd be in the hospital for a night or two before coming home. On Saturday, he asked me to bring the girls by so he could see them. I did. On Sunday, he seemed to have given up the fight and on Monday, he told me he wanted to enter hospice care. On Tuesday, surrounded by his family, he passed on. I am grateful that we all got the chance to say goodbye and let him know that he could go but that we would miss him with all our hearts.
My Dad was the kindest, most wonderful hard-working man I've ever known. If you needed something fixed, he could fix it for you. He knew everything too. I used to tease him and say that he was pretending to know everything but honestly he seemed to know it all. He would do anything for his family even if it meant putting himself last.
After my Mom's heart attack, he took on caring for her with all the love in the world. She was his light, his true love. My parents taught me what true love looked like. I think it took me a while to find Scott because I was looking a love like theirs for myself. I feel lucky to have found it. I also feel blessed that Scott was able to develop a deep relationship with my Dad. They bonded right away and my Dad tucked Scott under his wing. I'll never forget the first trip my parents and I took with Scott. My parents decided it would be a fun adventure to drive up to Victoria Island in Canada to have lunch at a pub. Scott and I arrived at their house at 5 a.m. to begin our trek north. We arrived at the truck stop border so early that the gate wasn't open yet! We took the Tawassen Ferry over to Victoria Island and drove for what felt like hours before arriving at the pub. We shared a few pints and had a lovely lunch before heading home to Seattle. While driving through Bellingham, my parents started bickering. That nothing fight spurred a private joke that still gets Scott and I giggling to this day. My Mom had seen a sign for a restaurant but would only say, "I saw a sign" to which my Father would answer, "What did the sign say?" My Mom would respond, "I saw a sign". At the time I wanted to strangle them but in hindsight, it had all the makings of a hilarious skit. This was the first trip of many we would take with my parents.
My Dad was so excited when Molly was born and in the short time they had together, they really bonded. He would chase her up and down the halls of my house and up and down the stairs at his house. In the past year, she spent many a weekend at my parent's house. They would take her out for pizza, let her swim in their hot tub and go to church. She thought all of it was so much fun especially because it meant spending time with her Poppa. Whenever he left my house, she would stand at the window, waving goodbye to him while shouting, BYE POPPA! On Monday, I took her to visit my Dad in the hospital. He insisted on a hug and a kiss from her even though she was feeling very two. I rarely insist that she hug or kiss anyone but I made her give him the biggest hug and kiss. I had a feeling it would be their last one.
As a child, whenever my Dad came home from work, I would get a ride on his shoes. He would act like I was sooooo heavy and stomp around while I rode on his leg. I used to giggle so much. My Mom said that I would sit at the front door and wait for him to come home from work.
Dad, I'll Love You For Always. I'll Miss You Forever. I'm so glad I got you as my Dad and that Molly got you as her Poppa. I'll keep your memory alive with so many stories about you that I'll make sure to tell the girls every chance I get. Because you were the BEST Poppa out there and I miss you so much.
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