Many of you have called wondering if I was OK because I took a little time off during the holidays to relax and unwind. One regular reader wads concerned that I was still healthy and alive. I told her that I was and if anything happened, she would be the first to know because I would immediately begin haunting her upon my death. I think she appreciated that she was on the top of my list.
Anyway, this may not be the easiest posting to start the New Year off with, but it is one of those anniversaries I hate having to celebrate. Toady marks the ten year anniversary of my fathers death. Death is inevitable for everyone one of us, but it just never seems to get easier as the years go by.
I consider myself very fortunate that I have those memories of my father being a strong factor in my life. Remembering the vacations and things we had done as a family. The memories over the years of the things he had done. The stories that can never be replaced.
The story of the Hindenburg passing over his one room school house in Windsor, probably the same day as it went down in flames as his classmates looked up in awe. Bombers returning to Bradley Field during the war. The trolleys that used to run from Hartford to Rainbow before they turned around and headed back downtown. The model T's and the Model A's that were his first cars and his luck that he survived driving them.
The stories of why he volunteered for the Marines at a time of War and how he met my mother, and the life long romance that survived over 50 years. Even though we probably never realized it until we were much older, my father was the type of role model that is largely lacking in many young peoples lives today. This world would definitely be a much better place if children growing up today had a role model like my father, and still to this day, my mother also.
My father was a hard worker and set the example of a solid work ethic of getting up every morning and heading off to work, like a father should. Many nights, especially during colder weather, we didn't see our dad because he would work late most nights and we would be in bed before he ever made it home. But that is what fathers do, they provide for their families.
He also came from the period when men respected their wives. I think part of that was his Marine training, but I can honestly say I never saw my parent's fight. I never saw my Dad raise his hand to my mother. He was always a gentleman. He provided for my mother and us, even in his retirement he made sure that my mother was well prepared to go on and live comfortably after his bouts with Cancer.
He passed away from Colon Cancer that eventually spread to his liver and took his life after a long battle on January 6, 2004, two days after his January 4th Birthday. That Birthday we knew the end was near, the morphine pump was at least keeping him comfortable, and throughout that day the flow of our friends and family coming through the Hospital to say goodbye seemed endless. Everyone had a comical story to tell about my father it seemed.
Even the priest that came that day to give him the last rites was impressed. There was more food in the room than Hometown Buffet and Father Vargo said that was what "Death with Dignity" was all about before he put holy oils on Dad's forehead The celebration of his life as we remembered him and being along side my mother for the tough period we knew was coming.
My mother has been remarkable in how she carried on after her best friend left her alone to carry on. She has shown great strength and keeps well occupied. The marine who brought her coffee in bed every morning was no longer there to wake her with his whistle every day before he woke her up. ( I bought her a Keurig for the coffee, but I know that doesn't come close to the cup of love she was served every morning.)
Mom still tells me regularly that " I went and talked to your Father today" and my usual retort is "Did he answer you?" I am sure she was probably down there today amongst the meticulous rows of white marble stones at the Veteran's Cemetery chastising my father for leaving her alone early.
The time may go by but the memories still remain strong. Thanks Dad for teaching us what you did and for setting the example for us to live by