We lost our sweet dad on Wednesday. He had lung cancer. It was a hard few days before he went, but in the end, he was comfortable and had family all around him. About a week before he died I had him on the phone and he asked, "When does your boy come?" So maybe he knew he wasn't going to be around much longer. It makes me sadder than anything else that my son won't ever get to meet him, but I know Dad stuck around as long as he could.
I could write pages and pages about this guy, he was that fascinating. I'm going to miss him every day forever. But in keeping with his modesty and self effacement, I will limit myself to writing ten things about him that you may or may not already know.
1. I had never seen him dance, nor had I any suspicion he could do so, until my wedding reception, when to my utter shock, he confidently began leading me around the floor. He said all boys who grew up in the thirties and forties learned how to dance.
2. Animals adored him, especially cats. It made him nuts.
3. He loved turquoise jewelry.
4. He loved found objects: rocks, bottles, doodads, jewelry, and anything that looked like it had an interesting history. Everything he owned was more valuable to him if it had been found.
5. He drank coffee at every meal. In fact, it was the last beverage he ever asked for.
6. He would read any mystery, any time. He read constantly, but mysteries were his favorite. He did actually make a prophetic joke several years ago that Sue Grafton needed to write faster or he was never going to get to read Z.
7. Up to three days before he died, long after he couldn't walk, if my mother casually mentioned she needed something, he would try to get up to go get it for her. His foremost concern was always for her.
8. He spoke Polish, from his maternal grandmother. He always said he'd forgotten it all, but I remember occasionally over the years that a Polish person at church would say something to him, and he would respond fluently.
9. He said he was going to die at 3:30, but he actually went around 3:15. This prompted my sister in law Stephanie to remind us that he hated being late.
10. While doctor's appointments and school meetings were my mother's realm when I was growing up, everything else fell to my dad. The park, church, the library, the store…he took me everywhere. I complain a lot about being the last kid, but the truth is that I had him all to myself for many years, and I'm so grateful now.
The man was incredibly photogenic. He just couldn't take a bad picture. Here are some of my favorites:
Donations can be made to Franciscan Hospice in Tacoma. Thanks to these wonderful people, especially our nurse Gina, he was able to stay home in his own bed.