OT my Dad

PurplemoonFebruary 17, 2011

I have read all the wonderful, sweet, caring thoughts you posted about my Dad and me. (Kay, thank you

for letting everyone know why I wasn't here). All of you are truly my "other family" and I am so blessed to

know you. You each are in my heart.

On Sat morning Dad had sudden sharp pains in his rgt side and thought he had appendesitis. I called 911 and got 4 (hunky) firemen here, who said it wasn't but his blood pressure was low and he definitely had to

go to the hospital. After the emergency room tests were done, he was transferred to ICU. He had an enlarged gall bladder, urinary infection, and kidney infection. Up until Sat morning, none of these things were evident. No fever or anything!! So he had a lot of IVs going and medicine to keep his blood pressure up. His gall bladder needed to be removed, but his condition made surgery a bad idea. At least till the infections were under control. So all of us thought he'd be in ICU the rest of the week, and we'd worry about him going thru surgery in a week or two. He was stable and getting excellent care. Late Monday night, all the fluid going into him was not coming out properly and was filling up his tissues and lungs. He had to be put on a breathing mask. He kept worsening and the doctor said a ventilator was needed, but that he probably wouldn't be able to come OFF one in that case. Dad said no. The doctor consulted me and my 3 kids,

and we all agreed. The doctor said to get the family together as he probably only had a few hours left.

My kids, and the 2 grown grandkids all came right away, they all live here in Phoenix! Dad went peacefully to sleep with me holding his hand and everyone by his bedside. Thankfully he never had to go to a care center, was only in the hospital 3 days, and was able to be home in his own room with his little dog all this time. I couldn't have asked for more in how this unfolded. But it was still a shock and I am very devastated. I have cared for him totally since last June, and he's lived with us for 10 yrs since my Mom died.

I am lost and don't know what to do with myself. And I can't believe he's really gone. Its going to take me a long time to get back to normal in my life. But having all of you and this Forum to come to will give me a sense of normalcy and a lot of joy. I will try to post as I've always done very soon. This will be my only post about the hole in my heart and life. Its going to be a long one tho, so bear with me if you can.

One special thing about my Dad was he never met a (clean) joke he didn't love. To tell, re-tell, and tell some more. There was no conversation with him that didn't have him telling someone a joke. But a few months ago he heard a bit of humor that became his "theme song", and if I heard it once I heard it hundreds of times.

Anyone he saw got to hear it. Including the 4 Fireman Sat morning! They walked in the room, one asked how he was doing, and Dad replied "I'm celebrating today"....the fireman asked if it was his birthday and he said "No, but today is the oldest I've ever been!". They all laughed and loaded him up. The emergency room doctor heard it. The ICU doctor heard it. Every single nurse who went into his room heard it.

And I smile at this memory more than other right now.

To make this even longer, I'd like you to "meet" my Dad. This is what I've written to read at his service.

Which isn't till mid or late March by the way.

I want my kids and my grandkids, and friends to know him thru a "daughter's eyes" (and heart).,,,,

I want to share my thoughts of my Dad.

When I was a child, he was not just my father, he was my best friend. We spent countless hours riding horses, hiking, fishing, exploring. As soon as I could walk, he put me on pony rides and instilled in me a love of horses that remains today. As a career military man, we didn't put down roots my first 14 yrs, and he indulged my love of animals buying me hundreds of glass horses and dogs that moved with us each time. Movers hated us. I grew up being a Collector, and that will never change.

He promised when we moved to AZ from Ohio, for his last years in the Air Force, he'd buy me a real horse. We were here 7 days when he kept that promise, even tho we didn't have a home to live in yet. It was my 14th birthday, and my best EVER.

I was the only kid in school who's dad got up at 5am to take her 2 miles to the stable each morning, usually on back roads on his motor scooter, to be with her horse. Then he drove me to school, picked me up, and took me back to the stable. Every day, for the 3 yrs we lived on the base. Then we moved out to the country where I had more horses and animals.

We hiked the hills and forests of Ohio, and Texas, and Alabama. Then the desert here, the White Tank Mtns especially. Always bringing home some pretty rocks or interesting piece of wood, which to this day I still do any chance I get.

To my grandparents horror, he taught me to play poker when I was 5. I was a total TomBoy because of him. No girl, and many boys, couldn't match my throwing arm when it came to baseball or football, thanks to my Dad. My grandparents gave up ever seeing me in frilly dresses and acting like a little lady.

And when I was older, if I didn't bring some animal home that I rescued, he did. From baby birds, to a cripple burro, to a runt black Angus bull calf, an orphaned coyote pup, and countless other animals shared my life because of him.

Every kid that ever came to our home loved him, and thought I had the World's Best Dad. And they were right. He never tired of thinking up games or fun things to do. He loved children of any age all his life,and he loved all people as well. Dad never met a stranger. He didn't forget those he met, and they for sure never forgot him. I use to joke that we couldn't take him anywhere that he didn't run into someone he knew. But it was the truth.

When I grew up and he got 3 grandchildren, he merely continued on doing things with them as he'd done with me. I think they got to share a tremendously special relationship with him that not many kids today have with grandparents. And what's amazing, is the fact they all had children ( EIGHT of them in all) who got to know and share many special times with their great grandfather. .I don't think that is something that happens often in life.

This was ALL because of an incredible man who put roots down in Phoenix, simply because he bought his daughter a horse and she wouldn't leave for any reason. And he wouldn't leave her to retire in his beloved home of Alabama. I was well and truly spoiled all my life.

I can't stop without saying a little about my mother. Growing up, I never realized what she had to put up with all her married life. She got left home while he took me everywhere. She had to deal with pet mice, pet rats, lizards, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds & fish, and numerous cats and dogs.. all in her house. Even an orphaned tiny lamb in our only bathroom's shower stall. Our family vacations from Ohio to Alabama in our station wagon often resembled a traveling zoo. And she never said "no" to any of it.

One of my Dad's favorite stories to tell was about the crippled little burro I mentioned earlier. My horse was at the Air Force base stables, but we spent a lot of time with an old horse trader about 7 miles away, just because we liked hearing his stories and hanging around his small ranch. One day when we went there, he had a little crippled burro about 8 months old. He drug one front leg when he walked, and was totally useless and no one was going to buy him. I was heartbroken, and sat in the stall hugging him till my dad asked "how much". The old cowboy said if we could get him in the car, we could take him home free. CAR being the operative word. Thank goodness it was a 4-door sedan. Between the three of us, we somehow got the little burro inside. He stood there with his head out the window like a big dog. Instead of taking the back road to the stable tho, nothing would do but we had to go show Mom our new pet. So Dad drove down Glendale Ave for miles, somehow not causing any wrecks from all the people who couldn't believe they were passing a car with a burro looking out the window. He drove into the base housing and into our drive, went in and told Mom to come see the "big dog we'd rescued". Looking back, I cannot imagine what went thru her mind when she came out, not only to find a burro in the driveway, but one IN her Car!!

Living with my dad must have been a bit like living with Dr DooLittle. Yet my parents were inseparable in a marriage that lasted 54 yrs, and only ended then when she died. I know she is so glad to have Dad with her again.

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Zorro is a 13 yr old Yorkie mix. Never groomed properly, so looks like a homeless ragamuffin. But this is how Dad loved him. I am giving lots of hugs and attention and he's doing ok, tho is "waiting" for Dad to come home. It breaks my heart.

I'll be lucky I don't kicked off by the Forum masters as I've really abused things being so lengthy in an off topic post. Hopefully they will forgive me this one time.
hugs, Karen

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 5:56PM
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Karen, that is beautiful and thru your stories can see what a wonderful person your dad was.

My dad was similar & like you I was an only child, so my dad had me doing things like helping him "bleed the brakes" on his car, when I was only in grade school.

Back them our dads did all their own repairs on their cars, not like today.

Yes, we both grew up a bit tom boys due to being girls and only children.

My dad promised me a horse too, but I never got mine, I think you got my horse!!!

We did have lots of dogs though, my dad was a true animal lover like yours. He even brought home two chipmunks from Wisconsin, where he had been on a fishing trip & then he built a cage for them in the backyard.

Our dads sound so much alike, I miss mine too, lost him before my mom and he was the one I knew I could always count on, he was strong & could do anything.

It is a blessing (trust me) that your dad did not suffer & was able to stay at home til the end.

My dad had cancer & I watched this strong man, I depended on my entire life, just waste away til he did not even know us!

Sorry to get off on my dad too, but you remind me of so many things we did together too.

It was for a reason that the nursing home messed up & your dad stayed with you & his little dog where he was happy.

Take consolation in the fact that he was happy til the end & where he wanted to be.

I truly enjoyed getting to know your dad thru your stories. I'm sure your family is so much richer for having known him & to have great grandchildren that were able to be around him is huge!

Take all the time off you need, rest up & take good care of yourself & all your animals & especially your dads little doggie.

Much love & HUGE HUGS to you, my friend. Lori

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 6:21PM
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Karen: That is a truly wonderful story and tribute to your Dad. Your family was blessed to have each other. Your beautiful memories will help you through this time of sorrow. Marylee

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 6:44PM
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I cannot talk to you right now, Karen (after reading your message) but I want to try to say one thing, "Thank God for the Blessed men whom we call Dad." Hugs to you & your family, Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 6:49PM
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What a beautiful tribute to your Dad, Karen. All of those wonderful memories will bring you comfort as time goes by.
God be with you and your family during this sad time.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 8:05PM
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I so enjoyed reading your history of your dad and you. What a nice tribute, a dad would be proud.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 8:23PM
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Karen, beautiful story about your dad and you growing up. I'm sure everyone at his service will enjoy this as much as all of us here have. His new theme song "I'm celebrating today".... will be a perfect way to celebrate the beginning of his new life at his service.

After reading this, it makes me realize how special your DM must of been also. She put up with alot of creatures for you and dad through the years.LOL

Thanks for sharing Zorro with us. What a little cutie. So glad he has you to be with now.

Hope you will find the strength to continue posting here with all of us. We miss you so much when your not commenting or showing us neat things to browse.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 8:54PM
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My goodness. What wonderful memories you have of that special man.
You and yachter are only children. Me too! It's amazing that our Dads (still living in a time when real men had sons) never assumed we couldn't do anything we put our minds to. I'm a "handiwoman" today, because my dad had me working right along side him. Yachter's story brought a lot of memories back to me.
Gosh, Karen. There will be such a hole inside you for a while. But gradually it will fill up with all those beautiful memories. Every time you feed an animal or pet your cats or watch a bird fly to his nest, you will talk to your dad. He may be in heaven, but he still lives inside you.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 10:38PM
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What a legacy your Dad left, and what a beautiful tribute you wrote!!

I'm sure everyone who knew him knew what a special person he was and as a joke teller myself, I love that he was "celebrating" til the end!

So glad that you have your wonderful memories of both of your parents! Also, that he was able to stay with you until the end. It sounds like a very peaceful passing and he was so blessed to have all of you around him at the end.

As Red Skelton used to say at the end of his shows,
"May God Bless!"


    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 11:18PM
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You've written a wonderful tribute to your Dad, Karen, and what wonderful memories for you and all your family. It is hard to come up with words to express the emotions I feel, so I'll just tell you that I'm so glad I was able to meet your Dad during my visit with you. As the others have said, he lives on in the memories of those whose lives he touched. Thoughts and prayers, Luvs

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 11:49PM
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A beautiful tribute to your dad, Karen!! Hope it is OK to suggest something, Ask all your family to write down a joke they remember or favorite time they spent with him & gather them & have someone assemble it into a little booklet. I think it would be so enjoyed as some of younger GGk's get older. Stories about some of animals could be included. Your dad was a very special man & your mom very special too as not many moms could deal with moves, kids, animals & hubby spending lot of time with DD & horses. You were blessed with great parents & great memories! Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Jan

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 11:51PM
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Jan, of course its ok to suggest something so wonderful.
And actually my oldest (22) granddaughter started working on that project last year.
I'm very sorry to hear your parents aren't doing well and you are facing a rough time.

I know many of us are Daddy's girls, that's one reason I felt comfortable posting all I did about my Dad.
(Lori, I wish you'd gotten your horse! I did enjoy hearing about your Dad.)

I am keeping all these posts, as they will bring me much comfort in days ahead...and more sweet memories as Time passes.
hugs from my heart,

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 12:17AM
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Karen - thank you for sharing this loving tribute to your Dad with us.
I can't begin to tell you how touched I was reading about what a wonderful Father and Family Man he was. How truly blessed you were to have had such a beautiful relationship with him right till the end. He may be gone from this earth, but he has left you priceless memories to 'Celebrate His Life' and cherish always!
I picture him in Heaven with your Mom...and a crowd around him making everyone laugh!

Bless you and your family...


    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 12:22AM
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I knew better than to open this post at work, (my home computer is still down) but I couldn't wait. Now I sit here all teary eyed. Those are wonderful stories about your dad and everyone's right you very lucky to have him
( and your mother) all those years. My heart goes out to you and poor little Zorro. I was a daddy's girl too, I was born after 18 years of three boys. When I was six my Daddy took me to buy my first pony, we came home with two, a Welch and a Shetland, I might have been spoiled. Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories and reviving my memories of my dad, he passed when I was ten.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 10:19AM
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Sweet Karen.....my prayers are with you....
Thank you so much for your wonderful story.....

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Karen, such a lovely tribute to your Dear Dad. I would have loved to have gotten to know him and listened to his jokes. He sounds like he was a delightful person and he certainly raised a family to be proud of. You can see his legacy in you and Jason and I am sure the rest of the family is just as kind spirited as you. Treasure your memories. and know that your Dad lives on in your memories and heart. Hugs, Janet

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 12:10PM
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I wish all of you knew what your words meant to me...

Frou, if you came home with TWO ponies, I'm quite sure you were as spoiled as me. But when I read you lost your Dad when you were only 10, I started crying. I am so very, very sorry that your time with him was so short. I hope having 3 older brothers meant you continued to get some 'spoiling'.
I am truly heartbroken over your loss, even tho it was long ago. Just so unfair.

I'm trying to sort and pack things in Dad's room today.
I came here to "escape" and let the tears dry a bit.
hugs, Karen

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 3:01PM
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Ahhh, Karen...I am thinking of you & my heart is remembering the loss you are going thru ...such a hard & trying journey...but as jay said in a post, time is the healer. God has blessed you with your Dad for so many yrs & you will need to hold onto those glorious memories of the times (good & bad) spent together as you grieve your loss. God bless!

So happy that you are here...a good place to let those tears both flow & dry. Please let others help you with everything, too, when they can. Hugs to you, Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 3:41PM
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I was so sorry to hear about your dad, Karen, but I'm so happy that you have such wonderful memories of him because they are sure to inspire a smile every time you think of him.

My dad and I weren't close but I was very close to my great aunt and uncle who owned a farm near LaCrosse, Wisconsin. I used to spend summers there. Your memories of your childhood reminded me so much of mine on the farm. I had horses and ponies. My aunt and uncle had pigs, cows, chickens, cats and dogs. I helped my uncle and neighboring farmers harvest hay (the only girl to do so and able to keep up with the men). I picked wild berries with my aunt and helped her bake pies. I picked wild flowers and pretended to be a cowgirl complete with cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and cap pistols. And even though they have been dead for more than 35 years, I still remember them with love as if I talked to them last week. They provided me with some of the best childhood memories a girl could hope for.

Your dad will live on in your heart for the rest of your life. One can only hope to leave behind such a lovely legacy to be remembered by.

May your sorrow be short and your happy memories be long.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 12:53AM
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I am sitting here in tears after reading about your wonderful Dad. Mine was great too, and altho I have brothers, I was the oldest, and went with my Dad on lots of great occasions. We had lots of 'things' that Daddy brought home-a loon, a wounded eagle, all sorts of baby animals. Both parents gave me a love of wood and wood working, that founded my woodworking craft years (15). I was often a 'helper' on the houses Daddy built. My maternal grandfather worked in a sawmill.
I posted first on conversations/garden junk and immedialy came here to read this post.
You have my sympathies and my prayers.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 11:10AM
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I am just seeing this, Karen. I haven't been on line much die to being sick.
I am so sorry to hear this. I know you will miss him,. You gave him a wonderful home and care. I am so glad he didn't have to go to the nursing facility. God works in strange ways.
No one will ever be able to take your wonderful memories from you. Not everyone has such good memories of their parents, so we are truly blessed.
My deepest sympathy to you and your family and prayers you find comfort.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 2:15PM
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Kathleen, I am sorry you've been so sick and hope you will be back to your tablesetting very soon.

Nona and Luna, thank you for coming over from Garden Junk
with your sweet thoughts. It means a lot. (and Marlene, thanks for letting the GJers know about my Dad. My energy has failed me for months in keeping up with two Forums, and I've not done anything in the yard in a long, long time to even share on GJ.)

I'm almost thru packing up Dad's things, and dread the finality of that. Its really hard being in his room,
where he's too much there and too much not there....


    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 5:44PM
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Marlene Kindred

My sweet friend~

As I read this tonight, I felt as though I was reading about my own life. I adored my Daddy and lost him to cancer eight years ago. But, I too was Daddy's girl up until the day he passed on into heaven. Your story is so similar to mine in so many ways....I brought home so many "lost" animals when I was a kid and he never said no to any of them. I always describe my father as a gentle man and a gentleman...he fought for his country in WWII and worked hard to provide for his family his whole life. Even though he wasn't a man of high education or a lot of words, he taught me more than anyone else in this world ever will. Reading your story made me realize just how lucky we both are to have been raised by such wonderful men and to have had these men teach us how to treat ourselves and others. We are blessed to have been "the apples of their eyes."

Your are right when you say that the next few weeks and months will be hard for you...I totally understand that. There are days, even all these years later, that it is hard. But most of all, the memories are sweet and the love is still as strong as it was when Daddy was alive. He will forever be in your heart Karen and in the days to come, that will bring you peace and in times ahead it will bring you a lasting joy.

Take all of the time you need to grieve, to remember, to cry and to hurt. I can tell you from experience, it will get easier to bear. The hole in your heart will never disappear, but it will get to a place where it is a scar, not an open wound.

Feel free to write whatever you need to here. I feel as though the folks here would agree with that and want you to feel as though you have a place to be open and honest about your feelings. You are in all of our thoughts and prayers and there are tons of hugs coming toward Phoenix my friend.

Just be good to yourself and keep moving ahead...just move slowly and let time work it's magic with you.

Lots of love coming to you dear Karen~


    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 9:27PM
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Karen, I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. What a beautiful tribute to him. (((hugs)))

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 12:17AM
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Dear, Dear Karen... Our family has had you in our thoughts and prayers... We sent you a card today. Olivia was devestated by the news. She cried. Carol lost her Dad when she was 8... My Dad died young as well... We feel your sadness... A BIG BEAR HUG from all of us. I think of the day when I will be reunited with Dad (and Mom) and find comfort in that. Cherish the wonderful memories!

I remember when you posted a photo on Garden Junk of your grandson when he was home from duty...there was your Dad in the background! From all that you have shared about your Dad, he was a SPECIAL, SPECIAL man!

We love you! Bear Hugs! Kirk, Carol, Olivia and Benjamin

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 1:54AM
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Karen, there is no rush to pack up your dad's things, I still have things of my moms here, not everything, but things I just can't part with. I did give most of her clothes to a lady in town who was her size.

My mom loved to clothes shop & had so many in her closet with the tags still on them.

Karen, wanted to share a quick horse story, although I did not get my horse, I was such a spoiled only child, that in the summer, every Sunday my parents would drive me about 20 miles to a park that had pony rides & they would let me ride for hours. I looked forward to that as a young child and have great memories now of the sacrifice they made for me.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 3:24PM
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Karen - just catching on all the news on the forum (((((hugs))))) I know all to well there is a big hole in your heart right now. Lost Mom a year ago this month and everyday I think about her and miss her so much. She lived with me the past 7 years since my late husband passed away and helped me so much to get through the loss. I am fortunate to have 2 of my sisters and 2 of Mom's grandaughters close by and we share stories all the time. Every conversation brings Mom into our thoughts - all good times. Your tribute to your Dad really touched my heart and I am sure brings you a sense of peace also. The loss will always be there but so will the wonderful memories - take care sweet lady ......


    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 6:19PM
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Dear Karen,

I haven't been here in forever and don't know why I came here so late tonight. But, I'm glad I did.

Thank you so much for allowing us to share your sorrow and for giving us a chance to know your Daddy through your memories. It brought back memories of my own dear sweet Daddy.

He passed away in 97 and I still miss him. When he died I wore his robe until it fell apart from the wear and tear.

I keep his hat, that he wore to church, in my bedroom and still pick it up to capture the smell of him when I miss him the worst, even though it has faded away with time.

I know from experience that this is a very hard valley to walk through. I am praying for you.

Take care of yourself, my friend.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 2:42AM
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Karen, Thank you for commenting on my table even though you weren't feeling up to it. I know your grief is raw right now so please don't push yourself. If it is too painful to work in your Dad's room, wait a while. Grief is so personal and everyone handles it in their own way.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 9:14AM
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Nana, I got on last night with the intention of reading all the posts and commenting....of course when I saw the word "purple", that was the first one I read being me. When I went to comment I just started falling apart and realized I couldn't act 'normal' afterall. I'd finished writing my Dad's obituary and picking a photo for it a few hours earlier, so that's probably why I was a mess.
tho I seem to be staying that most of the time.

I'm clearing things from Dad's room, except things special to me, because I 'have' to. I need to see that room in a different way as soon oas I can. It hurts too much otherwise. The hospital bed has to go back to the VA, so I hope to find some different furniture for that room in the future. The gigantic old dresser needs to go, but Zorro can keep the easy chair. He claimed that years ago. ;o) Basically I'm just donating Dad's clothes and going thru loads of paperwork. He saved every scrap of paper and trying to sort the necessary from the useless has been a challenge. After Mom died 10 yrs ago, and he moved in with me, he really kept very little. "Stuff" was her thing, not his. He stopped driving when she died too, their car was totaled in the wreck and he didn't want another one.
So Dad's belongings are very few, except his clothes and a lot of framed family photos. I'm so glad I don't have a lot to go thru again, like when we lost her.

this is the photo I chose for his obituary, its how I'll always remember him with his wonderful smile, ready to tell someone a joke.

hugs, Karen

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 3:39PM
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Karen, super picture of your dad. What a wonderful smile. Looks like he just told one of his jokes and is still laughing. Hope your days will be brighter with time.

Great to see Betty was here and posted for you.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 7:35PM
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Karen..nana is right Grief is personal..and whatever works to help you cope, go for it.
I can understand you wanting to 'See' that room in a different way, and keeping the things that are 'special' to you is best....especially Zorro's Chair!
From all you wrote about his personality, the picture you chose...is 'So Him'. As Punk wrote...like he just told a joke and is still laughing.
Take care of yourself my friend..
Remember we're always here to lend a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen.



    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 9:08AM
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Karen, What a wonderful picture of your Dad.
I'm sure you will always remember him that way, with his wonderful smile.
May the days go easier for you once you get these difficult tasks out of the way.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 9:53AM
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    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 12:51PM
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