Hello! Just last Sunday, June 5th, my husband and I paid a late-morning visit to my dad. Since he's been on hospice care since last November, we weren't exactly surprised to see his frailness. But although he was agitated at times, he did seem to recognize us, and was strong enough to hold his water cup and sip from it by himself.
I told him "I love you" several times, and each time he responded with his usual reply: "Naturally." That's my dad!
Six hours later, he died, less than one month from what would have been his 94th birthday. Apparently my husband and I were the last ones from the family to see him alive. He went so quickly that there was no time for anyone to be at his bedside. His heart just stopped.
It seems sad that he died alone, but as one of my sisters commented, maybe he wanted it that way? Some people do seem to wait until they're alone to die. It happens.
Since my dad lived so long, he had outlived many of his contemporaries, so we weren't sure how many people would show up for the visitation and funeral. We were uplifted by the number of family, parishioners and other friends from the area who were there with their presence and sympathy. And of course, we also appreciated the support given by those who weren't physically present as well - flowers, charitable donations, prayers and other expressions of sympathy.
True, my dad had lived a good long life, had assisted countless people during his long career as a social worker, and had had hobbies and interests outside of work. But as a widow since the end of 2010, he missed my mom terribly. We kids tried to take care of his physical and emotional needs after that, but of course we couldn't make up for the loss of his helpmate of over 55 years.
Now they are together once more, so even though the 4th of July (his birthday) - and a lot of other things - will never be the same I take comfort in the rejoining of their souls.
Now, about the card seen in the photo that opened this post:
Being a greeting card designer, I had crafted the above for my dad for Valentine's Day 2013. I found it among some of his things when we kids went to his room at his nursing facility to gather up mementos of him. I don't think many of the cards I made him were kept (which of course they didn't have to be), so I was glad this one was!
I do recall that he seemed pleased with this card, for he sent me a note thanking me for it and said he'd passed it around for his friends at the facility to see. I felt good about that!
In case you were wondering, the photocopied pic is of my dad, from his WWII days in the Army. I always liked that photo of him.
Goodbye, Dad! I love you - naturally!