Hero

I have been thinking about this post for months….. years probably.  My Dad died on February 24, 2011.  It is the day the world stopped.  My Dad has always been my inspiration.  My motivator.  My “get up when your down guy.”  He was my biggest supporter.  He was, in every way,  my Hero.   My Superman.  He was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was a young teenager and lived with the disease for more than 40 years.  He was sick my entire life.  I have been in more hospitals, met more doctors, researched more medical issues than most nurses and doctors in the state.  My family and I learned to  navigate the health care system and the insurance providers.  We did the “stuff” that goes along when someone you love is sick.  But he always had the hardest parts.  He suffered every day in little ways.  For the majority of his life.  His whole life.  His sugar was always erratic- no matter how hard he tried to regulate it.  He was high and low in the same 15 minute span.  He had a kidney transplant.  Quadruple bypass surgery.  Stage 4 lymphoma.  Stroke.  Brain bleed.  Heart attacks.  Arthritis so bad he had to physically open his hands.  He hasn’t felt his feet in years- he once stepped on a nail and didn’t know it.  He was blind in one eye- and couldn’t see out of the other.  He spent the last 2 years of his life on dialysis.  He spent the last month of his life in the hospital having his leg amputated.   And he never complained.  Ever.  To anyone.  He was the most gracious and courageous man I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

He fiercely loved his family and adored his wife.  My mother stood by his side for 37 years.  She cared for him and supported him.  She managed his care and kept him grounded.  Every time there was a new procedure to do or doctor to find or disease to learn- she did.  She devoted- literally- her life to being his caregiver.  And that caregiver role… it isn’t glamorous.  It is thankless and long.  And lonely.  She suffered along with him every day.  In every way.  Thank you Mom for everything you did for him and for us.

This is the last picture I have of him.  I’m so grateful it is with my boys.

 

I miss him every day.  Some days it is quiet.  Some days it is assaulting.  More often than not I can’t breathe.  I have a day when I can’t stop thinking about him.  Then a day when I don’t think of him at all.  Days come and holidays go.  Our first Easter without him coloring eggs with the kids.  My first birthday without him.  Here comes Father’s Day.  Things lose meaning.  Then you reflect.  You remember.  You pull out pictures and find yourself back in the moments.  You find new meaning.  You forge ahead to find your “new normal”.  I know it is what he would want.  It’s what he has always wanted.

I will never forget the last time we talked about him dying.  He was ready.  He was tired of being Superman.  He said it would be a sad but glorious day when he died.  This is the picture I go to when I think of that day.  He was a glorious man and I have no doubt that God welcomed him with open arms.  He finally has peace.  The rest of us…. well we will keep working on it.

I can only hope he knows.  That when he died he knew how much he was loved.  How much he was appreciated.  By his friends and colleagues. By his neighbors and his community.  But most importantly by his family.  His life was a tribute to God and I know his passing means we have another angel to watch over us.  Keep us close Dad.  Whisper in our dreams.  Send your breathe in the winds.  And your love in our everything.  I will miss you with every beat of my heart….

“Any  man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a DAD”.

 

BeckyJune 20, 2011 - 11:12 pm

That was an absolutely beautiful and heartfelt tribute to your father and the love you have for him. I hope this post was cathartic for you and that it helps you in your healing.

KaseyJune 21, 2011 - 9:03 am

Hi from CM. This is just beautiful! He sounds like such a wonderful man. May God Bless you

tanjaJune 21, 2011 - 6:27 pm

I was crying as I was reading this! I am so sorry for the pain you are going through! I am so glad you have these images and although I am sure you would trade them for just another day with your dad…they will help everyone remember just how great he must have been!

KristineJune 23, 2011 - 11:54 am

Wow, the tears are flowing. What an amazing tribute to your dad. I am so very sorry for your loss.

LynnJune 25, 2011 - 6:17 am

Wow, Gina, what an unbelievable tribute to your dad. He truly was your heart and soul and you conveyed it just beautifully! The pictures you captured recently and throughout the years are such great memories that will last a life time. He was such a special person and to know that he is at peace and watching over all of you should be such a comfort. Lots of love always

MarlaJune 27, 2011 - 1:29 pm

Your father sounds like a true inspiration. I am so sorry for you families’ pain, but no that he is at peace. These pictures are priceless.

JenniferJune 27, 2011 - 5:54 pm

This is a beautiful tribute to your dad – just beautiful. I am sorry for your loss, and hope you find peace in the face that your father is no longer suffering in this world but now sits with his creator and is whole. What beautiful images you have to remember him by and to share him and his wonderful spirit with your children.

Ann (Anniefofanny from CM)June 29, 2011 - 5:06 pm

Wow, those were beautiful words. Your father is still with you; he is there every time you pick up your camera, he is with you during your daily activities, he is in your childrens’ eyes, he is everything that you are and is still cheering you on. My condolences….

KatJune 29, 2011 - 6:20 pm

Gina what a beautiful tribute to a true hero. I’m so glad you have such precious photos of him. Wishing you peace.

Amy SalessiJune 29, 2011 - 8:22 pm

What a beautiful tribute to your father. I am so very sorry for your loss.

KelleyJuly 7, 2011 - 6:38 am

What a wonderful tribute to your dad!

NicholeJuly 13, 2011 - 5:36 pm

Beautiful post, Gina. Hugs.

JoJoNovember 30, 2012 - 8:21 pm

Dear Gina,
Wow, I can barely see to write this, the tears are all for all of you, who lived all his pain with him, and your Mom who shared it the most..he was truly such a wonderful guy, I can remember when all hsi problems first strte dwhen he was so young..I saw allot that he went through, and you are so right, he didn’t complain, he was so sweet and soft-spoken, he sure loved all of you SO much, & he knew he was loved in return..we ALL loved him, very much from when he was born, we went many nights just to hold him, beautiful from the start!!!they were at our house evey sunday of their lives!!!they were all part of us…thansk so very much for sending this, I loved it and your ways of describing it all..you have a great gift of words…I can see why you go to this often, I would too, in fact, if you leave it here for awhile I’d like to share it with chick tomorrow…
thanks againm dear little niece..I appreciated seeing him and all of you…sharing his life together…I feel he is still looking in on all of you…yes he would want you all to go on and be as happy as can be…!!! Love all of you, aunt jojo
did you ever make that book where you asked all of us to write things>>>????

Roseanne GausmanJanuary 22, 2015 - 8:57 pm

Gina, beautiful, heart felt tribute to your Dad, my cousin, I remember things from my child hood with Dave. He was definitely an angel, & loved by all of his family & friends, & we were loved back. You have the most beautiful pictures. I miss him so also. He was a kind gentle sole just like my brother Mike, his cousin, your cousin. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful tribute to his life with all. Miss you too. Love Roseanne

Gloria MolellaJanuary 24, 2015 - 4:06 am

Thank you for sharing this tribute to your Dad, he was a special guy, my husband Dave & I had the honor to know him through bowling.

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