Death Of My Dad – pt 3

Posted by on August 25, 2010 at 6:17 pm.

My Eulogy for my Father:

The most amazing man in my world died this week.

We’re all in shock.

The most frequent phrase I’ve heard is, “What do you mean Dick is dead? I just saw him…?”

In my parent’s house, I find myself looking out toward the garage wondering when Dad will finish up and come inside.

Then I remember he won’t.

We’ve heard some wonderful stories about Dad over the past few days. It’s been comforting, learning how he’s touched other people and made them laugh. We’re looking forward to hearing more.

Dad was a straight shooter. He wasn’t much for pretence and he told it like it was. He didn’t demand respect, he earned it.

I’ve moved across the country, done a lot of traveling, met a lot of people, all of them make me realize how lucky I am and have taught me to value Dad for his intelligence, integrity, knowledge, kindness and his sense of humour.

It’s been his sense of humour that has carried us through this past week. Dad would have been furious if we wore sad expressions on our faces and moped around.

At one point on Friday in the ICU waiting room Mom suddenly smiled.

She’d closed her eyes and imagined what Dad would do if he was there. In her mind’s eye she could see him standing impatiently at the door saying, “Come on old girl, let’s go home.” And then he’d say slyly to a passing nurse, “Gotta call her that to keep her feeling young.”

I can see some of you smiling. You’ve heard him say that, haven’t you.

As Mom told us about her musings you could feel a shift in the room. Expressions softened and shoulders relaxed. That was the effect Dad had on people.

If Dad had been able to orchestrate his own death, this is the way he would have done it. Really, part of me wonders if he didn’t have a say in how this week has played out.

It was fast. Any of you who knew Dad also knew that being confined to bed would have killed him faster than any disease.

On Wednesday, the night he was taken to hospital, he and Mom went for a lovely walk along Saint’s Rest Beach and had a relaxing evening.

Scott who had moved home three months ago, was just up the street and saw the fire trucks go by. He was able to reach Donnie who ‘coincidentally’, was coming home from Grand Manan and was just west of Mom and Dad’s exit. They were at the house within minutes.

Mom wasn’t left to face this alone.

I was able to catch a flight from Vancouver the next morning. He made sure he was still there – so that I had a chance to yell at him for scaring us all, a chance to accept what was happening and a chance to say goodbye.

The doctors and nursing staff were wonderful. They answered all of our questions and trust me, there were a lot, many of them we asked over and over again. They never lost patience.

Even though none of us liked what was happening, Dad gave us all the chance to accept the reality and time to say our goodbyes.

When he sensed that we were gathered and ready for the final vigil, he simply stopped, sparing us all the agony of waiting.

Daddy took care of us, right to his last heartbeat.

On behalf of my Mom, my brothers Donnie and Scott, the rest of my family and myself, I want to say thank you to all of you. Thank you for your love and support, thank you for your prayers Thank you for being here with us as we celebrate the life of my father and honour the man that he was.

And I’ll add a caution and a request.

Don’t take life for granted. It doesn’t matter how healthy you think you are, circumstances can change in a heartbeat.

Tell the people around you that you appreciate them. Tell your family you love them.

As my family and I learned this week, you never know when that ability will be taken away from you.

Day 5

One Comment

  • Jennerosity says:

    Thank you for sharing that Sue! Even though we never got to meet him, I know from all your stories how important he was. The Eulogy you wrote is a lovely tribute to him.

    I’m amazed at how strong you are to share so openly and so early in your grief. Just remember that you’ve got lots of friends on both coasts for those days when you need to be weak for a change.

    Even though my own father had a long and protracted demise, I never really gave thought to his eulogy until after he passed. Then all the heads swiveled to look at the writer, naturally.

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