On May 16th, my dad passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 80 years old and in his 50th year of marriage with my mom.
We weren't able to tell the kids right away - it was the day before Diana's prom, and Trevor is hard to reach at school, so we told them both on Sunday.
Trevor took the train in to Eugene on Wednesday and then we drove up on Thursday. We spent Friday with my family, and Saturday was the memorial.
It was well attended and many people spoke about how my dad had affected their lives. There were a lot of really nice things said about how much he was respected and admired by all who knew him.
My sister, Connie, and my mom did a beautiful job of putting the whole thing together - music, slide show and flowers. The funeral home was lovely and welcoming. I haven't attended many memorials, really, but this was an exceptional service.
I got a copy of the slide show on DVD, and Lee is figuring out how to post it so that our family and friends who weren't able to attend can also see it. I will do a permanent link on the right when we have that figured out.
I am grateful for the last year, and the amount of time I got to spend with my dad. My parents came down to us last June to see their first grandchild graduate high school. My dad was really happy he was well enough to do the drive, and felt so good at that time. Our family got to visit again in August, although my dad was in the hospital the whole time we were there. Diana did get to bring in the laptop and show him the photos from her trip to Germany. I brought either Trevor or Diana with me daily to visit, and Connor and Lee got to visit as well.
In October, I met Carolyn in Portland and we drove up to visit again for my dad's 80th birthday. He was home, but in bed for most of that time, but we still got time to talk and laugh with him then. Even though he wasn't feeling great, he was able to visit with friends and enjoy their company.
Then Trevor & I visited again over Spring Break. I spent a lot of time with him then, and he really appreciated our time together.
I will be forever grateful that he wasn't alone at the hospital when he passed away. My mom & Connie were with him, holding his hands as he went - on his own time. I think it was the best way he could have gone.
My dad had a very full life. He made it through WWII, met and married my mom, and created a name for himself in Los Angeles. He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. I think he got a lot of happiness out of his retirement and being with his grandchildren - In his retirement, he created lovely pieces of art in stained glass & jewelry, which many of us have as momentos.
Now he is finally at peace, and his long battle is over. He is with his parents, his brother and other friends and relatives in Heaven.
I know he's in a better place, but I will miss him terribly.
Auf Wiedersehen, Papi. I love you.