Dear Dad: it’s been a year

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This time last year we had transitioned Dad to hospice, knowing the end was near. He fought the good fight, and we’re so lucky to have had the time with him that we did. The last conversation we had was about Hot Lips Houlihan, and I’ll never forget the smile, his impeccable, gracious smile, he had despite the pain.

Dear Dad,

It’s been a year now since you’ve passed. As much as we miss you, we know you’re in a better place. I swear I heard morse code the night mom called to say you had passed – it was you talking to me. I remember being eight years old, sitting at the little red desk you made with your telegraph key and your Morse Code books and you teaching me all about it. You had a way to inspire and energize me in the way you shared your knowledge and view of the world.

Remember the poem I read at your celebration of life? It seems duplicitous now looking back after we lost Millie. She gave me my strength and force to have a brave face for you. But we are trying to love and go on, knowing that you are taking care of each other.

You can shed tears because they are gone, or you can smile because they lived. You can close your eyes and pray they will come back, or you can open your eyes and see all that they left for you. Your heart can be empty because you can’t see them, or you can be full of the love you shared. You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday. You can remember only that they are gone, or you can cherish their memory and let it live on. You can cry and close your mind and feel empty, or you can do what they would want: Smile. Open your heart. Love….and go on.

I found some old photos, and was walking down memory lane…

Dad Genius

You always had the hip technology and could answer any questions we had about computers. You were also able to answer any random question about what something was or how it worked.

I remember when you first showed us how to insert a floppy disk and play the games on your Apple Classic. We’d spend evenings just playing lemonade stand, the “Paul Bunyan” pioneer game, the helicopter game or a host of any other intriguing games.

Then one Saturday morning back in the late eighties you and your friends were so excited to have two computers “talking” to each other across town. This was pre-internet. You understood what was the future and were at the beginning of it all, while also cherishing the Apple Classic.

As a fifth grader, you came to the career fair and set up in the cafeteria with all of your engineering tools. I’ve forgotten all the names for those gadgets, but I remember being so amazed by your knowledge and wowed and proud. And was always so proud of my elementary book reports that were printed out on your dot matrix printer with the cursive font. We always got a kick out of tearing the perforated edges off and making paper springs out of them – we found ways to balance work and play.

Daddy and his ladies

I’ll never forget the nurses telling you at the hospital to get in the delivery room or go out to the waiting room, no standing in the hallway. I told you between contractions to come in if you wanted, but you were always so conservative, so you waited outside in the waiting room.

You got to hold Mon Cœur (MC) later that evening, after you brought me Chick-fil-A and a shake. I’ll love you forever for doing that for me – I was so famished. I remember you coming up the next day to bring mom and were so proud holding MC again. Another girl added to our family.

It’s a wonder we didn’t give you more grey hairs as we were growing up. We should have been easier on you, a house full of women, but you survived it, and you loved us despite all our crazy antics.

What does EIIGY | POCR OFF mean, exactly?

I used to ask mom and would get an eye roll and, “Ask your dad.” Well, I know what it means now that I can read between the lines, and mom offered me some of your teeshirts to remind me of you. My favorite, the EIIGY POCR tee.

Nothing like wearing that shirt and the neighbors coming over and staring at me. Either they didn’t understand or they didn’t like what it said. It’s not a personal greeting for everyone that reads it, but I still get funny looks. I don’t care; when I wear it, I think of you and remember my childhood.

Hugs & Kisses

Well, I think that’s it for now. I love you and miss you. Give Millie hugs & kisses from us all. MC says Skinamarink a dink I love you, Poopa. She loves that song, and every time I sing it to her, I think of you tucking me into bed.

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