This has been an eventful week. We spent 5 wonderful days in Nebraska with Amy and her family, (post to follow)then home for Thanksgiving.
Last year we spent Thanksgiving in Hawaii with Tyler, Tanya and her family and I felt we needed to be home this year for my Mom.Backing up just a bit; Jerry's parents moved to Los Altos with Jerry's sister almost 5 years ago. Jerry's Mother's health was declining and she needed more care than Dad could give her.
Mom passed away April of 2006. Dad , although 91 years of age, was still strong and doing well. He wanted to move back to Redlands, but we all recognized that he couldn't do that. Slowly over the next several months, his health began to suffer. He had been carrying a low-grade leukemia in his body for years and the Drs said he would probably die of old age before that ever got him. This past year has been a physical struggle for Dad. The cancer spread and he was often in a great deal of pain.
On Thanksgiving Day, Dad left this mortal existence and joined Mom with our Father in Heaven. I am grateful that he is no longer in pain. He was a strength to us all. His memories will live forever with us.
Some of my personal memories:
# The first time I met him, he brought in a bag of pennies and we sat and rolled them. He said 'Someday these will be worth something.'. Years later he gave checkbook boxes filled will rolled pennies to my kids..I know they treasured them
# When my Dad died in 1982, Dad J was there at the service, and he came up to me with tears in his eyes and gave me one of his quick hugs with the pat on the back. I realized there and then that I still had a father on this earth.
# We moved to Yucaipa after the folks' retired. One day Dad called on the phone to see if Tyler was awake, he wanted to come and watch him play.
#While in Yucaipa one day I looked outside and there he was, planting rosebuses in our front yard. The man had a amazing green thumb.
#Speaking of that, he had amazing gardens. He grew vegetables that were delicious and large. His fruit off of his small trees were huge! Oh how we missed the avocados when that tree was overgrown!
#I loved the twinkle in his eye when he was amused. Like the time Tyler bought him an alligator made from green egg-shell foam at the school's santa shop. Tyler was so proud and Dad was so touched. He kept that on his bed for a very long time.
#Dad taught my husband to work, and to work well. Jerry grew up on a small chicken ranch, and for a time, he was the only employee. (the girls and brother were long gone!) Dad taught him how to repair anything and how to take pride in a job well done. It wasn't always easy, those life-lessons, but I am grateful that he taught them to my husband.
#One more...while Mom was in declining health, he was so tender with her. This was a side we didn't see much in the previous 30 years, but it was so beautiful to watch. Her care was all he thought about. Someone HAD to stay with her at the hospital at all times, never was she to wake and be with strangers. He held her hand, he teared up when she was hurting. And watching that lip quiver at her service, did me in.Dad was a man of few words, sometimes gruff, very generous and I love him and will miss him.
Thank you Dad for taking me into your family and always making me feel welcome and loved.
Until we meet again....