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A Tribute to my Dad

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Today is Father's Day. A day that I think of my Dad. Really no different than any other day.

My Dad was a man with many facets. Depending on who you were, he was a father, husband, boss, friend. He was quiet, funny, reflective, adoring. He had a great sense of humor and could tell me a new joke every day. He was the wise Pops to my boys and taught them so much. Yes, sometimes I cringed, but I was always amused and still see his traits in my now adult sons. So many sides to one human.

When I was young, my family moved out of state. I stayed in NJ. I never did get to see any of them often enough even though my vacations were spent travelling to visit. My family as well as my husbands.

At some point, my parents moved back to NJ. Live evolved and I was in the position that I was able to spend almost every weekend for several years with my Dad. I will forever treasure that time. I got to know so much more about him.

My Dad would come to my husbands softball games. This was the Pops that was there every Sunday for my sons football games. He was always ready with his camera and was so proud of them. I would always make a few platters for him during the week and tease him that he probably through them out the window on his way down 287. We shared many Sunday dinners. He was there when we went to the shore on Easter Sunday after he hid eggs for my boys. He too had more that one Easter dinner at White Castle. He went to the Macy's Thanksgiving parades with us. One year when only one elevator was in service at the Port, he led the way to our car. Granted, we climbed scaffolding along the side of the building, but we didn't have to wait in that sea of people. {Note to self: Don't let Dad lead us through the city.} My Dad was the one that: Scared the heck out of my kids one Halloween by jumping up from under a blanket in the back of the SUV. The dent is probably still in the roof. My Dad helped teach my children table manners. While at a restaurant my son wanted croutons and was disappointed that he just got cut up toast. Well, Dad was right there to advise him to let the waitress know. (Sorry Jason) He also explained how to get their attention by saying "Excuse me, Toots". My son chose not to. (Sorry John).

We often took trips to PA. We went to block parties, visited friends and relatives and he taught me so much about the areas we went through and the people we met. I saw a man I didn't really know. He was so much more that my Dad at that point. He was my friend as well.

In time, he moved back to AL. I was sad for me and my family, but happy for him.

Time went on. My Mom passed. Such a hard time. Dad asks us to stay with him. He just needed some support. We cancelled our reservations and stayed. I tried to help get things in order for the people that would be stopping by. We held hands at the funeral trying to give support. It was the only time I saw my Daddy cry.

Fast forward. Dad's now in Myrtle Beach with a friend. We were able to make several trips there. Loved it! As usual, he made a lot of friends and loved sitting on the beach just relaxing. Things start to change. He started losing his eyesight. Then at some point he is diagnosed with cancer. I was with him when he got the diagnosis. I can't believe this. I am in denial. He's in a nursing home now. It's hard for him. He still has his sense of humor.. He reminds me of the time my young son helped him change our dining room light. Oops! Just turned the dimmer switch down. Got a bit of a shock. We reminisce about our times in NJ.

He wants to go back to Alabama. I have a brother and 2 sisters there. Thank God for my big sister. She arranged to get him back to AL and took him into her home to care for him. It's time to call hospice. I don't know how she has the strength. I go to visit. It's not good. I'm in the shower one morning and my sister's knocking at the door Ali, come out. It's Dad. He died. Tears. He's at peace now. No longer in pain. He's up in heaven telling a few jokes, singing his songs and entertaining people like he had done in the minstrels many years earlier.

I hope I can live my life with the grace and dignity that he did even when life seems so hard and unfair. I hope I always remember to enjoy every day. I hope that I made my Dad proud of me.

I love you Daddy
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