In 2013 my dad had a series of events that led to him having vascular dementia. The nine years that followed were bittersweet. He was no longer the dad we knew - but he was better in so many ways!
My dad always had a strong sense of his masculinity. He was a born communicator who never met a stranger. He had great business acumen and would go broke to support a friend or small business. Yet he was also short tempered and once he "wrote you off" it was difficult, if not impossible, to get in his good graces again.
The dementia made him softer, though; more loving. While he was always a good father and grandpa, he was much more patient and loving after the dementia set in.
After nine years with dementia, he passed away on Friday, October 28. We just arrived home to FL from the funeral in PA and I wanted to take time to share a bit about my wonderful dad.
Growing up, my dad was a good provider. He and I didn't interact much, except when I was holding the flashlight for him to work on the cars. While we didn't talk much, it was the one way I could interact with him, so I relished it.
When I went away to college, my dad had a sales job that took him all over the state. He would come to take me out to dinner every other week. I would sometimes bring a friend. While I never talked about it, that was one of the worst times of my life. I had made horrible decisions and was paying the consequences. My dad showed up every other week, had dinner with me, then drove back to his room. At the time I did not know that he drove 150 miles ONE WAY for every one of those dinners. What my dad did not know was that he truly saved my life. Knowing a parent was "nearby" and cared for me carried me through that horrible season. I knew he loved me like never before.
Fast forward 10 years and I graduated with my PhD. My dad instantly became my biggest fan! He told everyone about his professor daughter and all the things I was doing. When I started Write.Speak.Relate, he was the first to tell people about it. My dad worked for various companies, but always had an entrepreneurial side. I believe that's where my sisters and I have our love of owning our own businesses!
We visited our extended family in the Northeast every summer for few weeks. I'm blessed to have a career that affords me the ability to take my work with me.
The kids LOVED fishing, camping, and making s'mores with Grandpa. He asked questions, listened to them, and offered grandpa worldly wisdom.
My father loved coffee (yup, that's where I get my love for coffee, too), baked goods, Breyer's Natural Vanilla Ice Cream, cherry cobblers, and Reeses cups. He enjoyed talking about politics, though we rarely agreed. He was a deep thinker and a hard worker. Nearly to the day he died he was felling trees and chopping wood.
Since college, I've never doubted my dad's love for me. Now that he's gone, I feel a bit untethered. I want him to be there when I visit again. However, I know where he is now. And that brings me a great source of comfort. I know that when I die, I'll see him again and that's better than seeing him for a visit.
So, that's my dad. I love him and I miss him so much. But he was the best man I could have ever asked for in a father. And I married a man so much like him. I feel doubly blessed.
Thanks for reading this tribute.
What do you love about your father? If yours has passed, what do you miss most about him? Tell me below - scroll all the way to the bottom to find the comments section.
PS I highly recommend this book if you have a loved one dealing with any form of dementia. This helped us tremendously over the years. 💖