Our Dad truly was a superhero and when he crossed from this life into the afterlife, he left an unimaginable void in our lives. He left us many weeks before his actual death in April, experiencing what his doctor called “degenerative dementia.” So in the end we had a medical term for what had happened to Dad, though what we really wanted was a reason. There was no reason, but in an odd twist of reality, the dementia prepared us all for Dad’s leaving and it was a blessing.
Dad’s life story was built on a heart-breaking fact that haunted him his entire life. When Dad was five years old, his father left Dad’s mother and their five children because he did not want a family anymore. Dad never got over that loss and he spent his life becoming the man his father was not – a kind, gentle and very loving son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. Dad’s superpower was love and he was always happiest – literally beaming – when he was with his wife and his family.
Our family has been celebrating Dad’s long and wonderful life in the usual ways…telling and retelling our favorite stories, looking through old photographs, praying, and doing the one thing Dad would expect… rallying around Mom to love and support her as she re-orients herself to a life in which her loving husband of 66 years is not physically present, but still with her. On Mom’s birthday, just two weeks ago, Dad used his superpower in an unmistakable and undeniable way.
For many, many years, Dad bought flowers for Mom’s birthday. He would not have the flowers delivered to the house, but would go to a florist or other store, select the flowers he wanted Mom to have, and take them home to her. And if it were a weekend day, he would also stop to buy her coffee. Dad was a tea drinker, but he made coffee for Mom every weekday morning, and then often bought her coffee on weekends.
Two weeks ago, without knowing that it was Mom’s birthday, one of Dad’s very few surviving friends arrived on Saturday morning with flowers and coffee for Mom. What a beautiful surprise. Who but a loving superhero could have made THAT happen?
Thank you so much, Dad! We all love you very, very much and are deeply grateful to you for your many lessons about the power of love and devotion.