Good Morning, Dad!

Good Morning, Dad

A blog in memory of the sweetest man on earth to let him know about my travels and time at home….

I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to start a blog.  This past Tuesday, June 16th, my sweet papa died peacefully at home and I’d like to continue talking to him…..continue to let him know what’s going on in our lives.  To tell him about our journey to have a baby, to tell him about my life on the road as a singer/songwriter, to tell him about what craft projects or house projects I’m getting into while at home.  My dad has inspired me to live the life that best suits me. The most honest life I can live.  He told me the world would be a better place if we all did what we love to do.  He said it was the most responsible way to live.  My dad was the healthiest man on earth until he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three weeks ago.  He died one month to the day of his last bike ride of 13 miles. He was a champion sprint triathlete, never had a drink in his life, ate a perfect diet, was a champion weight lifter in his younger years, was a guidance counselor to his entire family and his friends, was the most positive man on earth…..no joke, he was.  He never had a health problem.  Not one.  Never took a prescription drug, never had a headache, and only vomited one time in his life after having bad pizza.  That was 30 years ago. My dad was my favorite person on this planet.  He was incredibly kind and generous.  He was pure joy and anyone that spent even a second with him knew it.  He was a special force in this world and when his energy was leaving his body over this past week, I could feel it.  It was impossible not to feel it.  He gave me the strength to take care of him.   We had some nights of no sleep during this past week.  He said he was never in pain, but was having trouble getting comfortable, so night time was difficult.  When I was a little girl and couldn’t sleep, my dad would sit on the end of my bed and run his fingers between my toes.  It’s one of my first memories of his care and love for me.  Six days ago, after a night of no sleep, dad was sitting at the end of the couch and I was napping on the couch with my feet toward him.  When I woke up, he was running his fingers between my toes.  He literally had no energy left and that’s what he was doing.  He cared for me while I cared for him until the very end.  That’s the kind of man he was. When my dad was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer, the doctor said he probably had three months to live.  My dad asked if there was any way to make it faster.  It actually made us laugh.  His body was not his own, he couldn’t exercise, he couldn’t eat, he lost all his muscle mass in what seemed like a matter of minutes.  Fourteen days after his diagnosis, he couldn’t walk on his own anymore.  He had no interest in living in his new body.  We didn’t want to watch him live like that for long either.  We wanted him to die quickly and he did.  He died just like he wanted to.  We joked that it was like a sprint triathlon.  On Tuesday morning, we called Hospice and let them know we thought he was getting close.  Our nurse and social worker came over straight away.  I’d like to say, having hospice around is like having a bunch of angels in the house.  They were amazing over the past couple weeks.  And they loved my dad and were amazed at how quickly he made dying happen. My cousin, Dave arrived at around 10AM the morning of my dad’s passing.  I believe he was waiting for him to arrive. Dave looks just like my papa and is goofy like him, too.  Once Dave arrived, we each took turns saying goodbye to him and letting him know it was okay to let go.  My brother and his kids were a huge part of this process.  We were all caregivers together. My husband, Danny, opened his heart so big I’m surprised it didn’t explode from love for all of us. He was our rock.  After we all said our goodbyes and sang him a few songs, Dave, Danny and my brother, Rick sat on the bed and told stories, just chatted a bit, and then looked over at around 4:00PM and noticed he wasn’t breathing anymore.  Just like that.  He willed himself to die.  That’s how true he was to his own life.  That’s how connected he was to his body and to his spirit.  So with his family present, his spirit lifted.  I swear the world must have felt it.

For the two mornings since his death, I found myself saying,”Good morning, Dad” as I was waking up.  It’s the strangest feeling knowing he’s not part of our physical world anymore.  Knowing this Father’s day will be my first without a father.  My heart is broken.  But I promised him we’d be okay and I meant it.  For he passed his joy onto me and I am committed to spreading it……..

Thanks, Dad.  For being my biggest inspiration, for spreading so much joy, for being a father figure to so many of my childhood friends, for your generosity, for your honesty, for your unwavering commitment to leading a healthy life in every way.  Thank you for being a beautiful father for the 41 years I’ve been on this planet.  I haven’t wrapped my heart around what life will be like now, but I promise to do my best to follow in your footsteps…..

Thank you, also, for always letting me order the biggest, most expensive steak on the menu starting at the age of six.

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16 thoughts on “Good Morning, Dad!

  1. Carrie – what a beautiful tribute to your papa. I’m so glad to have had the chance to meet him during your wedding weekend. It’s a shocking reminder to us all to live our lives as fully as we can, every single day, since no one can know how long he is given. We are so sorry for the loss to your family and their friends, but grateful to have the opportunity to share in your ongoing conversation with your father’s huge soul. Love you, cousin!

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  2. A lovely tribute. Now I understand better the glow that seems to surround you. Condolences on the passing of your father.

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  3. That was beautiful, Carrie. I’m so sorry for your loss, but I’m glad for you that you were able to be with him at the end. My thoughts and best wishes are with you and your family.

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  4. Carrie, beautifully said! Your dad always was just a pure joy and inspiration. He will be greatly missed. I am truly sorry for your loss. And yes a blessing he sprinted to the end. Kora may have mentioned we went through this with her grandfather my father – in-law almost 3 yrs ago. Rich was the first person to welcome me to my new home here in Georgia. I will never forget him. Truly a sweet man. I am so sorry for you, Rick, Austin and Lexie’s loss.

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  5. What a wonderful tribute you just wrote. I am so sorry to hear about this. I remember so much about your dad. How we all called him “dad”! He was a great and generous man. I am keeping you all in my thoughts, as you heal through the time ahead. 🙂 Love, Maggie M.

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  6. Yep. I felt it. Love you so much Carrie. You dad sounds like the father everyone should have had. How blessed you are to have had him. Big, big love!!

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  7. Rich was without a doubt the greatest gentleman who ever worked for or with me.i always wished I could have been as positive as he was every day,he loved everyone from employees to students he dearly loved life..Always enjoyed his summer visits with Austin and Lexie to Oliver and Jennifer’s he will be truly missed,how could a person not love him,my prayers for the family’s strength–mike

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  8. Carrie, What a breautiful tribute to your dad. He was such a special person and meant the world to us. I missed him so much after his 1st retirement and was elated when he returned to help us out at RETS. He was always my “person” to check in with. He would always listen no matter what. When he called me to tell me about his diagnosis, I tried to take a page out of his book and be there for him as he was for me all those countless times. I listened and then told him how much I loved and thought of him. My heart broke during our conversation, but I still tried to be strong for him and be his “guidance counselor”, as he was so many times for me. I am blessed to have known him. Please take comfort if knowing there are so many praying for your family.

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  9. HI CARRIE – Your dad hired me years ago at RETS Tech Center – Man oh Man can I tell you how grateful that I had the opportunity to work for a boss like your dad. I have never met another as generous and compassionate as he is. I could tell you so much about what he did for me in so many ways. I was supposed to come see him in Georgia, but he told me not to that he was coming here this Summer instead. He also bragged so much about you. your singing etc. Showed me your CD’s – I was given this news about your dad and I know this world misses him quickly. As General George Patton once said about the Soldiers who were killed in battle ” Do not mourn for the soldiers who died on the field of battle but thank God that such men lived” That is your dad. Thank you for the blog – reading it made me see him all over again.

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  10. carrie, I am so very sorry to hear about your dad. I lost my mom after her (relatively) long time with pancreatic cancer-18 months. Her journey was longer but similar and so very surprising as well. Your tribute to your dad is beautiful. Keep on saying good morning to him, he’ll want that and so wiall you. Sending love and light your way!

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  11. Dear Carrie, Your tribute to your father is beautiful…….just like the life he lived. He leaves an empty spot in the lives of those who knew and loved him.

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  12. So many similarities to my dad. A bigger than life personality along with the biceps to go with it. I miss my dad so much. Been over two years since he passed away. I was overseas when he suddenly left us and I so wish I was about so I could have been there.

    It doesn’t get easier but you do get stronger. Its a very difficult time for you but hang in there! There will be good days again.

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