A week ago today, my dad passed on.
We knew the end was near but, stubborn as ever, my dad went on his own time. He’d had a horrible night. I am forever grateful to his longtime friend for staying overnight with him at the hospice center; I don’t know how I would’ve dealt with what his friend had to deal with. After that, we had to keep Dad heavily sedated. There were numerous times throughout the day when we thought he was gone, but then he’d start breathing again. Most of his family and a few close friends spent the day there with him, in and out of the room, but always nearby. Even his littlest great-grandbaby was there, bringing her contagious smiles to everyone there.
My niece and I were sitting with him when he took his last breath, and the others came in immediately after. Knowing how bad his night had been, I’m tremendously thankful his passing was peaceful. And I’m thankful I was there.
And after watching him suffer the indignities of ALS, I am thankful he is finally free.
On Saturday, we’ll have a party to remember my dad.
Dad gave very clear instructions that he did not want a funeral. Instead, he wanted “laughter and stories.” So that’s what we’re doing. A party with BBQ and music and lots of stories — which, if you knew my dad, will most definitely include laughter. He was a funny guy. For years, I though he spoke Spanish — but he was just good at imitating cartoon mouse Speedy Gonzales. He always watched Saturday morning cartoons with me, and I laughed more at him laughing than I did at the cartoons. I look forward to hearing stories, the familiar, and the ones I haven’t heard yet.
Dad most often wore jeans, a Harley-Davidson shirt, and boots. I’ve worn boots for years, but my sister, not a particularly cowboy-boot kind of gal, bought boots to wear to the party in honor of Dad. I don’t know how much she’ll wear them after this, but I think that’s fun. I bet Dad would’ve gotten a kick out of seeing her wearing boots.
I could say so many things about my dad, but the BIGGEST thing is this: I always knew he loved me. Dad and I had a few really big arguments (I think I inherited his stubborn streak), and we didn’t see eye-to-eye on some things, but I never doubted his love.
I pray my own children and grand-children will be able to say the same about me.