I recall tender memories as Father begins to fade

So tomorrow is Father’s day and you know how you always think of what to get Dad, what would dad like, what would dad be able to use???  Well over the years that was not too difficult as my dad was a hard worker, a fisherman, a mechanic, a gardener…  He did pretty much anything he wanted to do & let me tell you he was not afraid of working hard, getting his hands dirty and getting the job done.  Fast forward about 30 years and now my dad can barely get around on his own, he sits in his chair about 90% of the time during the day.

I try to remember the good times that we had, I remember one morning daddy came in from work and I was getting ready for school, mom was rushing trying to get me ready for the bus, combing my hair with me crying of course…. so daddy fussed at my mama a lil bit & gave her that sideways grin and said “come see my baby, I’ll comb your hair, he sat there and hand picked the knots out of my hair, I’ll never forget looking at all those knots in the ashtray and thinking, that didn’t hurt at all.  I felt loved, I felt special, I felt important to my daddy.  I know it may seem like such a small thing but, I think of this often and thank God for those tender moments in my memory.

I remember going get daddy late one night because my chest hurt, I told him I couldn’t breathe, he says are you sure it’s not just indigestion, I was not sure.  So he didn’t complain, he got up, got my asthma medicine and came sit on the side of my bed to make sure I was alright.  I can still see him sitting there in my memory.

I remember once I was home sick, one of the many times, and I had been laying down.  Well when I got up I went to give Daddy a hug and he said oh my God girl you are burning up!  So he got some alcohol and ice and started wiping me down with it.  I was so hot that this cold rag felt so good.  I’m not sure how high my temp was, but it was enough to scare him.

I remember when I had surgery daddy came stay a night with me at the hospital and he had to write down all fluids that I had and he was picking on me about having to take notes.  & I wanted some chips, he went to the chip machine and got me some Bugles, I tell you to this day when I see a bag of Bugles, I think about that night and I think about my daddy.

I remember daddy taking us to the camp when we were younger.  He would work 3 straight weeks at work so that he could have 3 weeks off with us.  We would go to the camp, hunt, fish, swim…  Daddy tied a rope around each myself and my brother and he made us swim across the bayou, all the while he’s in the boat holding onto that rope, right there to catch us if something went wrong.  I felt such love, such pride in him while he was teaching us things.

I remember getting into trouble and feeling the disappointment come out from him while correcting me.  I felt the pain that he felt from having to correct me.  I know my daddy didn’t scold me to be mean, he scolded me to teach me right from wrong, he scolded me to show me that there are certain things that you just don’t do.  I am eternally grateful that he was stern with me, he taught me to respect my elders, to love others and to always be honest.

I remember alot of times, all daddy had to do was look at me & I knew whatever I was doing I better stop.  Also, all he had to do was point when he wanted something done, like cleaning the kitchen at night, and I knew, hop to it….

I didn’t argue with my dad growing up, we had our moments don’t get me wrong but, I respect him, I respect my mother too.  I’ve never raised my voice to my daddy and I don’t plan to.

There are many other memories that I hold dear of my Father and I could go on for many hours, maybe even days…. but, I’m hoping you get the point of how important it is to have a Daddy in your life.  That stern figure in your life, that you learn to love and respect.  That figure that you learn from as he guides by example.  I’m not saying that everyday was perfect.  That would not be true, what I am saying is that I’ve learned that you hold on to the good memories, the fun memories.  The good memories far outweigh the bad.  I cherish each and every memory that I have with my Daddy, I thank God for him and my mom everyday.  I’m just talking more about my Daddy because it’s father’s day.

It breaks my heart to see the man that was so strong, so stern with us as children, such a hard worker, not afraid of nothing slipping away to this thief in the night, this disease that is stealing my Daddy from me!  Dementia (Alzheimer disease) is a horrifying, debilitating disease and it affects the whole family, just like cancer does.   I see him drifting off to a world that is dark, a world that he does not understand, a world where he has no control.

Things that my Dad would NEVER  let anyone else do around the house are now being done by my Mom, myself or my brother.  We are having to step up in the maintenance of the house, the yard work and such.  My niece has been cutting the grass for quite some time now and I honestly don’t know what we would do without her helping.

Daddy has come to enjoy going to a local restaurant on Fridays for frog legs, I tell you he can eat for hours.  My niece usually goes with them and she helps get everything situated while my mom helps my Daddy in.  My niece gets Dad a drink, sets his food out, helps bring in the groceries, if they’ve gone to the store & usually they do, she lets the dogs out and such.  All Daddy has to do is go in & sit down with his plate.  She takes great pride in helping to take care of him, assisting my mom with chores.  Sometimes Mom has to ask her more than once to do things but, that’s just being a kid.

I’ve come to learn many years ago to cherish loved ones, to thank God for the time that you have been blessed with them.  It is easy to take things for granted and sometimes I do have to catch myself and remember that we’re not promised tomorrow.  I do thank God for blessing me with such a loving family, such a strong family.

So this is a small tribute to my father on father’s day.  A tribute to thank you for all that you have done for us, all you have sacrificed, all the hard work over the years and all the time that you took to teach us values and respect.

All my love,

Your Daughter

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