Monday, November 22, 2010

Things Just Won't Be The Same

I can easily say that the last eight days have been the most difficult eight days of my 46 years on the planet. As most of my loyal readers know, my dad has been in poor health for quite some time now. My phone rang at around 4:30 a.m. on November 14. It was my mom. My dad was having problems breathing and she needed help.
As you will remember, my dad recently finished a 17 day stay in the hospital. That Sunday was to be his 17th day home. He willingly to my surprise went home with the help of hospice which I blogged about a couple weeks back.
On this particular Sunday however, our time with Dad came to a close. I arrived to the house right around 5:00 a.m. I honestly hadn't much more than walked into his bedroom and said a few words to Mom when he left us. I honestly believe deep down inside that he waited for me to get there so Mom had someone with her. He knew I was coming and as I pulled into the driveway, Mom had said, "I believe Mark is here."

We have had two years to get ready for this event to take place. Two years ago when he spent time in the Nursing Home, I prayed for God to make him better or ease his pain. Simply put, take him if necessary. It was an unbelievable time. The amount of suffering that I have watched this man endure is beyond what words can explain. He worked so hard to get back home to my mom. They have been married 55 years with their anniversary coming up on January 29th. She was truly the love of his life. They went to church together as kids and first dated when they went on a hayride together when they were 16. They later met and went out for a burger. Three kids and fifty-five years later, here we are. As I stated, we've had two years to prepare for this. You tell yourself over and over that you know its coming and then dad won't be suffering and won't be in pain. Preparation right? Lord no. Not at all.
My dad was a great guy. He had a quick wit and the man could tell a story. And when he started, don't get in a hurry. He took his good old easy time getting you all the necessary details. He had numerous little sayings which I already tend to use in my daily verse. In all of his struggles, he kept his sense of humor. He had his dark moments but honestly, they were few and far between. The doctors and nurses who took care of him always commented on his sense of humor and general wonderful personality.
Growing up, we generally traveled or took a family vacation each summer. Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Branson, the Smoky Mountain National Park, Las Vegas, Daytona Beach, the Florida Keys, Grand Teton National Park. Dad loved the mountains. He loved to travel. He had been a store manager for International Harvester. When sales were good, they earned a trip. He and Mom went to Hawaii, Acapulco, Las Vegas, Florida, and an Alaskan cruise. Wonderful times.
We always cut wood for our winter heat. He had two weeks of vacation. We cut wood one week and traveled the next. As I got older, we learned to cut a little more early in the summer so as to get finished earlier. Finishing earlier meant we could leaver earlier. We always packed a cooler with ham or bologna and stopped at rest stops to eat a family meal or grab a snack. Things I've done with my kids now. We always seemed to find a good diner for breakfast. I would be screaming and hollering to stop at McDonalds. That seldom happened. Dad liked a good sit down breakfast. I now have that curse! I love breakfast and the more "down home" the diner, the better.
I could keep this post going all evening as you can tell. I have so many memories and stories that I could share. I honestly just don't know how to say goodbye. It has been so tough. My brother and I have been so fortunate. I look forward to working my way through these early stages. I may take time to tell a story once in a while or share an occasional picture. Its going to take a while.
I gave you two pictures today. The first is our final Thanksgiving together. We thought we would still have Pop this year. It suddenly became a very emotional and sentimental picture with his passing. The second picture isn't of great quality. Its actually a picture of a picture. I couldn't get the original to copy. It is of Dad with Mom standing in the background. Folks, my Mom can flat cook. Her kitchen is THE gathering place when you go to their house. Its going to be tough with Pop not sitting at the end of the table in his normal spot.
Dad, I love you and I thank you for all of the many things that you taught me and did for me during our time together. I just don't have words to express how bad I miss you and how much I dread having to learn to live life without your presence. Its most certainly going to be a difficult adjustment to make. You were a great husband to mom, dad to me and Roger, and papaw to my children. We will honor you memory in many ways over the coming holidays as we try to move forward. I know you are in a better place, that you are no longer suffering, and that you are having a great reunion, a joyous celebration unlike no other.
I would like to give a special thanks to all the individuals who read and follow my blog. I wish you and your families all the best as we enter the holiday season.


  1. Sounds like an amazing man! Sorry for your loss. Prayers for you and your family.

  2. Condolences to you and your family, must be a really tough time. It's great that you are focusing on the positive.

  3. Very sorry for your loss. He sounds like an amazing man dediated to family. Heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

  4. Hey Guys--Thanks for the kind words. Its been a rough go but I feel pretty good about things. As well as you can anyway. Thanks again.

  5. Oh, thank your for your special comments that you left on my blog regarding my dad. When I checked out your blog, I had to tears in my eyes when I realized you'd been going through the same thing. Big hugs to you and your family during this difficult time. I hope your mom feels extra loved and supported this holiday season and always.
    Have a nice Thanksgiving and take care!!