My father battled lung cancer and emphysema for six months. He passed away on Saturday, June 23 while I was trying to download "The 59th Street Bridge Song" (aka "Feelin' Groovy") so I could play it for him. It was a song he used to sing to us a lot when we were kids. I told the nurse if I couldn't find it I was going to have to sing it to him. When I looked up from my iPhone he had stopped breathing. Maybe he didn't want to hear me sing.
I wanted to write something to read at the funeral - not happening at a Catholic mass. Or at the funeral home, but I just couldn't read it or stand to have someone else read it for me then. I've decided to post it here and share with the world about the amazing man I called, "Dad".
Our definition of a blessing is not always God’s definition. If we don’t get what we want we may think that God doesn’t love us or worst that he doesn’t exist. But we know God only works for our good and that he is always blessing us.
My dad was a blessing to all who knew him. You may have been blessed to have him as your grade school chauffeur or your drinking buddy after a few hours of working on a house but my sister and I were supremely blessed to have him as our father.
He liked to watch sports but his favorite team was always the ones we played on. He liked to work on houses and make things with wood. But he LOVED people, especially his family. He showed his love in his actions big and small. Dad was a devout Catholic and rarely missed mass. During the Lord’s Prayer he always held hands with the person next to him and after the prayer was over he’d give a little squeeze. That squeeze meant, “I love you”. I will miss that squeeze.
My favorite times with my dad were when we just spent time together being goofy, whether it was letting us style his hair when they were little or enjoying the dork-fest that was a night of joking around. Being with him was just fun. Lining up cereal boxes across the dining room table and using the palms of our hands as paddles for an afternoon of ping pong didn’t seem odd with dad.
Dad being goofy. This is the only video we have of him and it is the best thing on my iPhone.
People admired his dedication to his mother when he quit his job so he could care for her at the end of her life. He spent weeks at a time caring for my son at the beginning of his life and again over the past year. Some called him a saint for picking up his life and taking care of his dying sister for a year and a half.
Dad was uncomfortable with this praise and especially the title of saint because to him he thought he was being quite selfish. Spending time with his family and caring for them was the only place he wanted to be.
But Dad didn’t just love his family, he was interested in all people. He liked to hear their stories and listened with an intensity that made them feel important. If you needed help he was there.Volunteer at bingo? Sure.Dad’s passing does not feel like a blessing now, I don’t know that it ever will to us. God blessed us with a great father and the ability to be there for him at the end. He showed my dad mercy in the end because he never suffered with any pain.
Install a dishwasher? OK.
Teach Vietnamese refugees to drive? No problem.
A ride to the hospital? Hop in.
Pay rent to me a bit late? Well if you have to.
Build a house? Sounds like fun.
Watch a kid? Any time