Friday, October 11, 2013

Remembering



Our children have three grandparents that are alive.  We are so blessed to have Nana & Grampapa and Grandma Cheri live so close to us.  Sadly, our children never had the chance to meet their Grandpa Dan because he past away from brain cancer in 2001...six years to the day before our daughter Mia was born.  In a strange way, I treasure that Mia was born on the same day that my dad passed away.  I can't truly explain it, but it makes her birthday more special to me and hopefully, someday, to her.

What was my dad like?  He was well liked by everyone.  He had a very gentle way about him and was very easy going.  He loved to laugh and be silly, sometimes to the point of embarrassment for his children.  Our friends thought it was funny.  He had a great sense of humor.

He was also very smart.  He was a mechanical engineer and meticulous.  Oh my goodness, his handwriting was so neat and everything had a place...all of his tools were super organized.  I see a lot of my father in Calvin.  The way that Calvin really looks and analyzes things, he tries to figure out how they work.

Oh how my dad loved music.  There was always some type of music playing at home and I love how he loved all types of music, it wasn't just one genre.  He is the person who introduced me to Simon & Garfunkel, my very first CD.

My dad started having these really bad headaches that wouldn't go away in the fall of 1999.  I was finishing up my first semester of grad school when my mom called and said that my dad had an MRI and they found a brain tumor.  He was sent to UCSF and all of us kids went up there for his surgery.  When it was done, the doctor came down and told us it was really bad news, the type of tumor my dad had was a stage 4 glioblastoma, the worst of the worst.  They gave us 6 months.

He ended up living a year and a half, almost 2, and was considered a long term survivor.  I got the call on Thursday at school that it was time to come home.  So, I drove up to Sonora, where my parents were living at the time.  I had already been up there a few weeks before and had already said everything I needed to say.  At this point, my dad had been on hospice for awhile and wasn't coherent.  The following day, Friday, we were taking turns sitting by my dad and just talking to him, holding his hand.  My mom and two of my brothers went down to the funeral home to discuss arrangements and my other brother and I were at home with my dad.  And then it happened, we watched him take his last breath and he was gone.

One of his favorite songs was Shout To The Lord, so we turned on the cd player and played that song while crying.  We called my mom and she said they had just finished picking out his coffin, it was like he knew that all the details were finished and it was time.  To this day, I cry when that song is played because it brings back a flood of emotions.

I miss my dad.  I miss that my kids won't grow up with their Grandpa.  He was just such a wonderful, loving, kind person.  The best of the best, I was blessed to have him as my dad.

Yet, I know that my dad is in heaven.  And I rejoice because I know I will see him again.  After my dad passed away, my perspective on things changed, I realized how short and temporary our life here is and that the important things aren't what we have at all.  All this stuff is going to disappear someday anyway.  What is important are your relationships...first and foremost, with God and secondly with the people He surrounds you with.  

Just so grateful for the time I got with my dad.  

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