OT my Dad
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.