My Dad was a huge fan of my blog. He didn't have social media accounts so I would have to send him a separate email with the link when I posted a new blog. He ALWAYS sent me a response back. Here are some comments:
- Love you....
- I re-read it. You should send a copy to the local chamber of commerce AND the Mayors office.... [on our trip to South Carolina]
- You are AWESOME. Outstanding.... Love, Dad
- This one was the BEST so far! By the way, unhook your hose in the back yard, drain it and put it in the garage. If you don’t the water will turn to ice and break it. Love , Dad
- What a wonderful reflection on your babies. Extremely proud of you. Love, Dad
- Good job honey. I love you, Dad
- Awesome honey. You are GREAT. And Luke and Kate are lucky to have you and John as parents, but most importantly, his advocates....
- A very smart person told me something. He said, "God will never challenge you with something that you cannot handle". Love, Dad....
I'm struggling how to make this blog live up to the legacy of my father. He suddenly passed away from "natural causes" at the age of 64 almost two weeks ago. The shock has lifted but I'm still struggling with the grief. When everyone goes to work and school I get to grieve but when my kids come home and my wonderful husband rolls in from a long day at work, I try to pull it together.
My children are young so the grieving process is a little different. Kate doesn't want to talk about it. She knows. She started to cry when I talked to her about Grandpa passing away at home. I was satisfied with that because there had been no mention of his death from her after that awful night. Luke grieved harder. He's a year older than Kate, and he and my Dad were buddies. I ended up picking Luke up early from school the Monday after his funeral. He was having an aggressive day, so we left school, got a smoothie, and watched movies. Every day got a little better for him.
My Dad was totally ecstatic when we told him he was having a grandson. He grew up with two sisters and had three daughters. It was time! When we received the diagnosis, Dad and I were both in denial. It was rough for us. Dad eventually came around, as did I. Then he went to work - building that relationship with Luke.
My Dad retired and started helping me out with some appointments with the kids. Sometimes he would just come visit since he lived two hours away until a year and a half ago. Then he started coming with me to visit Luke’s school. He sat in on a meeting with the director of the autism school where Luke attended as a preschooler. He asked questions. He came to speech therapy and watched him get treatment.
There was a bigger shift when my parents moved here with my sister, Joanne, in 2017. Dad hung out during ABA in our home. He got to know the therapists. He chased Luke into his treehouse swing. He met his teachers and played trains and watched gymnastics practices. They rode in the truck together and Dad made Luke give him a hug every time he saw him. Every. Time.
I am completely broken hearted that my hero left us too soon. He lived a completely full life in 64 years. He died a happy man. He said a few weeks ago, "I'm not afraid to die. I'm ready to go whenever God calls me."
I didn't want him to die. I miss him every minute of every day. We all do. He left behind my mom, my two sisters, our spouses, grandchildren, granddogs, sisters, family members, and countless friends.
He built relationships - all different kinds of relationships - in different ways. The different kinds of people from all walks of his life who came to his services or sent their love in many ways proves that. He focused on the person that he connected with and related his life to theirs. I know this is vague but if you knew him, you know what I mean.
I am grateful for my father’s guidance in life. He always told me “he’ll be fine”, referring to Luke. “Of course he will”, I would say.
I love you, Dad. See you in Heaven.