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I debated on posting something. Some of you know that my Dad passed away last Wednesday. I loved him dearly and carry so much of him with me.

Seven years ago my Dad's second wife passed away. He really had no one at that point to help him read his mail, make out his bills, do his errands or shopping, pick up his perscriptions,etc. He never really had to ask. I knew he needed help because of his blindness. But when he did call and ask to go somewhere or if I could help he'd sometimes say he felt like a burden, which he never was of course.

We went to shows, concerts, dinner, the movies, road trips to West Virginia to see family, just about anything you could think of. He treasured those moments; we treasured those moments. And now as my sister goes through his belongings I'm fine if she takes it all. See, I have something already that can't be found in material possessions.

Dad suffered acute renal failure due to congestive heart failure and went on dialysis in April of this year. He dreaded it because he was so afraid of needles. He went 3 times a week for 4 hours a day. It left him feeling tired and drained. After the treatments started he didn't want to do those things we did before. Occassionally he wanted to go out to eat, but that happened less often.

Over the last 7 months he had been in and out of the hospital. This time he went in because he was having severe stomach problems and couldn't have a bowel movement. They found he had a tumor in his colon that had worked its way through and made a bridge into his bladder. Two weeks ago he had surgery to remove a part of the colon, fix the bladder, and take his gallbladder out. He was recovering so well.

Early Tuesday morning I got a call from the hospital that his defribulator had fired and he went unresponsive. Luckily they were able to revive him. I spent all of Tuesday with him. Tuesday evening they found that the feeding tube going to his stomach had been leeking and caused peritonitis..and infection in the intestinal cavity. He was in great pain. Back in to surgery he went.

His heart wasn't strong enough for all of what he was going through. I was with him all day Wednesday, holding his hand and speaking to him even though he couldn't speak back due to the respirator. He passed quickly of a massive heart attack. He had been in the hospital for 5 weeks.

In the last seven months he knew he was getting sicker. We talked of all sorts of things from his spirituality to what his favorite childhood memory was. The last 3 months I grieved because I knew I was losing my Dad. I was fortunate to have the time to say all of what I wanted to say and more importantly, hear how proud he was of me and how much he loved me.

This is why I'm at peace with his passing. I will miss him so much and it will be hard to get used to not doing things for him and being with him. I'm grateful now for his blindness as odd as that may sound. If he had been able to do all of those things I've done fro him the last 7 years for himself I'm not sure we would have grown so close.

The reason I'm posting this is to pass on the life lesson I've learned from all of this. I've learned that there's no greater gift you can give than giving genuinely from your heart. Don't wait until tomorrow to spend time with someone you love. Or help them out if they need help; especially if they are older and not able to do for themselves. Don't wait to be asked..offer first so that the person doesn't feel like a burden. Sit and spend time with them if only to watch TV together. Those moments are golden and can't be bought.

This is the eulogy I read for Dad at his service. I started writing it weeks before his first surgery. I wanted him to hear what came from my heart. It made more sense to me to read it to him before he passed.

You may have thought I didn't see,

Or that I hadn't heard,

Life lessons that you taught to me,

But I got every word.

Maybe you thought I missed it all,

I was listening from the start,

Dad, I picked up everything,

It's written on my heart.

Without you, Dad, I wouldn't be

The woman I am today;

You built a strong foundation

No one can take away.

I've grown up with your values,

And I'm very glad I did;

I love you dear Dad,

From your forever grateful kid.

When I remember Dad I feel his courage. Courage to go off to school as a little boy many many miles away from his family. Courage to start his own business. Courage to meet his illnesses head on and never give up.

When I think of Dad I hear his laugh. I think of the jokes he has told and the sayings only he could think of. His voice had a deep richness and a soothing quality.

When I close my eyes I see Dad standing proud in his cowboy hat. He always was dressed his best and wouldn't go anywhere unless he had spent at least two hours getting ready.

When I'm quiet I can hear Dad practicing his runs on the guitar. I hold dear the memories of sitting on the floor next to his recliner singing songs as he played.

When I smell fresh cut pine or oak I think of Dad and the amazing ability he had to create furniture by hand.

When I look around this room I see all of the people Dad has touched. He was a generous man in so many ways; always willing to spend an unlimited amount of time chatting on the phone or go out for a bite to eat. If you needed anything at all and Dad had it to give it was yours.

Dad had become such a big part of me as we grew older together. I suppose he's always been a big part of who I am. I'm very proud to have him as a father and will miss him very much for a long time to come. He isn't totally gone though. He lives within the memories I cherish and the love that will forever be in my heart.
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