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August 20, 2012

I’m back…

We returned back home from Michigan on Thursday. It was the day after my Dad’s funeral. I felt ready to return back to my home and begin figuring out my life without him. While I didn’t see my dad all that often, I always knew he was there. And now, knowing that he isn’t, and that he never will be again, is really taking some getting used to.

Dad-2011-2
October 2011. My Dad's last visit to our home. 

He was an incredible man. He was full of life and laughter. He was gentle and kind. He was warm and loving. I feel incredibly grateful to have been his daughter and to have learned how to create a wonderful life, simply by watching how he lived his. I miss him terribly and I am still trying to make sense out of all of it. It happened so much faster than I expected.

 

Dad-playing
He never lost his playfulness...even when he was no longer able to play. 

I left for Michigan on Wednesday, August 8th. That day my Dad checked out of the hospital and began the transition to in-home hospice care. This final phase of his journey only lasted for three days. By Saturday afternoon he was gone.

 

On Wednesday night when I arrived in Michigan, I sat by my Dad’s side and we talked for a long time. I had expected we would have many similar conversations in the days ahead…but I also knew that if we didn’t, it would be okay. There was nothing important left unsaid between us. He knew how I felt about him, that my love for him was pure. And I felt the same from him. We chatted about fun memories, family vacations and the stories he used to tell me at bedtime when I was a kid. He read letters from my kids—letters telling him goodbye and how much they loved him. I know this meant so much to him, as it did to me. Before I went to bed that night he thanked me for the great conversation, and commented that it had been a long time that we had been alone and able to really talk like that.

 

Aby-and-dad

 August 2009 at Lake Michigan

Those final three days in my Dad’s life are days I will remember and treasure forever. They are three days that changed me, my view on death, and my view on life. I am so grateful that I was able to be by his side, rubbing his arm and his head as he took his last breath. And I’m so grateful that our last words to one another were “I love you.”

 

I will write more about this I’m sure, as I start to make sense of it all. But for now, I just wanted to let you know that I’m back and to say thank you to everyone who has extended their sympathy to me and my family. It is so helpful during times like this to know that others care and understand what you’re going through.

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Comments

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Katie B

Oh Aby I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I lost my father, in MI, in late June and I'm still trying to figure out life without him. Probably always will if the stories I've heard from others are true.

One thing I do know is that my father was a man of great faith and he is more alive now that he was in the last 6 months of his life.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time.

Katie

april

Oh my your post made me cry! My mom died almost 2 years ago, she lived out of stte, so there was no closure as it was a surprise. I can so relate to some of your post.

It will be hard but and your emotions will get the best of you. But you will have your memories forever in your heart to treasure

Sherrie

Aby, What a blessed gift you had - sharing the last few days of your Dad's life in loving conversation. He will always live in your heart. My thoughts are with you.

Sherrie

Annette {This Simple Mom}

Wow. It sounds like you are in a place of gratitude while you are hurting.

Aby, I just prayed for you and will continue to do so when you come to mind. These days will challenge you in new ways I'm sure.

Thank you for sharing.

Susan DR

Aby - Your post is so beautiful! I am so sorry for your loss, but your love and respect for your dad will always be with you. Your last days together sound like they couldn't have been more perfect given the circumstances. I am lucky enough to still have my parents, but they are getting older, and your post has helped me think about how I will handle the same situation when it arrives. I hope I will have the grace and gratitude that you have shown. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you adjust to this new phase in your life. Thank you for sharing such intimate details and feelings.

Juli

Aby,
From experience, I know that there is nothing as important as being able to say those final good byes. I didn't get to do it in person with my Dad, but over the phone a few times a day for numerous days. It was hard.

The one thing I will tell you from my experience is that there will be times when your kids say or do something funny or you just want to tell him something and you will start to dial the phone. Then you will remember. I wish you many, many hugs when/if that happens to you. It's a bit tough, but with love from family, friends and faith, you will be just fine.

Hugs to you,
Juli

Lycia

Welcome back, Aby. My heart goes out to you.

evi

Dear Aby,
thank you for sharing your thoughts. My deepest sympathy for your loss. How helpful that you could spend time with your dad before he passed away. I lost my dad eight years ago, when I was 26. I still love thinking about him and talking to him, and it has gotten easier with time.
thinking of you

Pearl

Your post make me cry.
Thank you for writing about your relationship with your father. He looks and sounds like a kind and wonderful person.
Not much to say and just hope you feel better soon.

Mary

Sounds very much like father, like daughter. He clearly passed on the most important gift of all to you: unconditional love. Peace be with you.

Richelle Peters

So sorry to hear of your loss. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

MARIA CARMEN PEREZ

Aby, thanks for sharing that tough experience. It has been really powerful. I think that beeing able to share the transition with your loved ones is really important and meaninful both, for the ones that go and for the ones that remain too. All my love.

Dottie K

Welcome back Aby! I'm so glad that you got to spend that time with your dad. Hugs, Dottie

Monica

Abby, your post made me cry and has inspired me to be even closer to my dad. God gave you the opportunity to be able to share your dad's last days and like you said you will cherish those days forever. Your dad is in a better place now and I am sure he knows how much you love and miss him. My prayers to you and your family. Monica

Joyce

Aby, that was so touching. I've touched base several times with Amy and I'm sorry I haven't reached out to you personally. I hope that she shared with all of you my deepest sympathy. I;m sorry that I wasn't able to be there, but you were all in my thoughts and prayers. You have a beautiful family. Can't believe that you have three children! Wow, the last time I saw you, you were a child yourself. Time has a way of getting away from you so quickly. Ryan sent me several pictures and I was so happy to get to see them. Say hello to your Mom for me. Take care and remember all the good times. Much love, Joyce

Stephanie Pezolet

Your words are truly heartfelt. You are a very strong and loving daughter. May peace be with you and your family Aby.

Cindy Garvey

Aby, I want to remember your dad at your's and Jay's wedding for the father/bride dance,when you both danced together. I can still see him going to the center of the dance floor, taking your hand, the music started, and he lifted his head back and started laughing. I can't remember the song you had them play but it was one that you and Amy played all the time, while growing up in your teen years and probably drove him nuts. He said "Oh no, one last time". Hugging,laughing, and dancing with you. A great memory of a great man.

Jeanna Supple

Aby . . . that was truly beautiful and so touching. What I noticed was that you look so happy in the pictures with your Dad . . . clearly you both enjoyed many wonderful times together. Those are the memories that you will hold so dear. I lost my Mom nearly three years ago to cancer too . . . I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Frances Talbott-White

Aby,
Your sharing of your final days with your dad is exemplary and inspiring -- like everything you do.

When Steve's mother died, a friend of mine said: "You're never quite the same person when your parents are gone." I think this is very true, no matter what age you and your parents are when the deaths occur. I can see that you will emerge from your grieving as an even stronger, more focused person, but I know that the transitional time will not be easy.

Please accept my sincere condolences and, as the old hymn puts it "the sympathizing tear."

Best regards,
Frances

P.S. Wish my condolences could have been more timely, but we were in Europe 8/7-19, and I took very little time on line. Caught the basic news on a post to the 'Goals' forum, but wasn't able to follow up.

Karen S

Aby,

My deepest sympathy to you and your family on the loss of your father. Your loving post brought a great rush of tears for me. I lost my dad to cancer 22 years ago. Your memories of him will live in your heart forever and trust me that while the pain never goes away, it does dull as the years pass.

Peace to you.

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