Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Last Chapter

Dad passed away the night after Fathers' Day.  We're pretty sure it was a peaceful passing after a fitting good-by.  My cousin Mimi arrived from California on Saturday to visit Dad one last time.  She had just returned from a two-week jaunt to Europe and was recuperating from oral surgery.  She was also on deck to visit us in Vail next month.  Despite all these obstacles, she arrived to give her cousin Lennie one last kiss.  My father had the biggest smile on his face when she stood next to him bedside to stroke his arm and talk gently to him about how much he meant to her.  Keith and I were with her and it was a very special moment.  On Sunday we returned in the morning to give him our Fathers' Day card and a very inexpensive DVD on National Monuments that I had bought at Target.  The card said it all:  "A Dad gives advice and encouragement when you need it, a dad cares about the things that mean most to you, A dad shares all your success and happiness because a dad loves with a love you never outgrow.  You've always been the best kind of dad in all the most important ways.  Happy Father's Day."  As weak as he was he still read the entire card by himself and then let me open his gift.  Mimi and I returned later on in the afternoon and we could see that he had taken a turn.  He seemed agitated.  We did not stay long, but before we left, he held my hand and gave me one last squeeze.  He signaled that he wanted me to turn off the light and that was the last time I saw him.  His usual caregiver arrived at 7:30, the nurse called me at 8:30 to give me an update, and the final call came just after midnight.

My brother and his family were on the way to Denver from Chicago before heading down to their new home in Albuquerque.  They arrived the next day.

The funeral was lovely but very small.  Mom had died only three months ago.   Adam flew in from Los Angeles and several close friends of Keith's and mine attended along with my father's cousin Bob.

This week has been a flurry of activity as we close up Dad's apartment and sort through all the legal and financial paperwork.  In between I feel a tremendous sense of loss, partly because this is my last parent to die, and partly because there was a strong bond between my dad and me and I miss him terribly.  He was such a gentle man as well as a gentleman.

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