I have written this particular blog several times in my head and often wondered if I would actually ever put it to the pen so to speak.
Well, I guess there is no time like the present to write about a life that is coming to an end. Carol, the oldest of us five girls, called last night. Dad is slipping away. Not hard, not fast, but
with quiet ease and I hope peace. I was thinking about the things that I remember about him and they are things like the smell of his pipe smelled when he used to smoke, the roll your owns he used sometimes, his laughter when we were young, the many different types of hats he wore over the years, the way he looked behind the wheel of a semi truck. So many, many memories of when I was young but there is a 20 + year gap in my memories. Dad was not a part of my life for a long time. My children did not know him when they were children, in fact they did not even get the opportunity to meet him until the woman he was married to died. It strikes me as very sad when a father lets a stranger dictate his life to him for so long. Dad did not call, he did not write and I am not sure he even ever really thought about us for all that time.
Dad and Mom divorced when I was only 17. That makes Carol 21, Teri 18, Connie 13, and Lucy 8. Dad stayed angry at Mom, never forgave her, never really got on with a life that we could all have been a part of. I would have loved for him to take Jason, my oldest, fishing like he took me. To take him camping the way I remember camping in the South Hills of southern Idaho. He hung around Idaho for a while he even ventured to Florida where he met Margaret. He ended up marrying her and at first I actually liked her. She made Dad happy. I do not know when all that changed. They lived in a small house in Filer. Richard and I would visit them on a regular basis. They were even at the hospital when Jason was born. She was a help to me, but then something changed in her. They had my little dog for a while when Richard and I were going through a rough patch and they lied about where she was and told me I could not have her back. When I went to get her the people who had her tried to hide her from us. It was a weird time for all. I actually had forgotten about it until just know. Margaret convinced my Dad to move back to Nebraska. I guess for awhile all was okay with them there but then Margaret got even more paranoid. From what I have been able to gather she, Margaret, tried to keep my Dads mom away from him and she lived right next door to them for some years. What is up with that? Dad has said that he is sorry that he allowed Margaret to keep him from us. He did come around more when she died in 1998 0r 99. You would think that is a year I would remember but I don't. Dad came out that summer and spent time with me here in Idaho and with the other girls as well. It is harder for Connie and Lucy because they were so young and just did not understand how he could just give up on them. Mom would have never kept them apart, never even tried to. Dad was just so very angry at Mom. He would have never left her because I believe that to this day he still loves her. I find that comforting because I know Mom still loves Dad because of the five lives they created together. Five wonderful lives that have produced 14 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren with another one on the way and so many accomplishments that could fill up a very large book. Carol has been married to Cecil for 40 years, come July Richard and I will celebrate 40 years, Connie and Jim 30 + years, Lucy and John 25 + years. Amazing, simply amazing! Teri has not had the same fortune that we have but I feel in my heart that had her first husband Gary lived they would still be together. He passed away at age 27 but that is another story.
I write this to prepare for the soon to be lose of our father. We all knew it would not take long after he got sick in July. I hated the fact I could not deliver the one thing he asked for and that was to go home. He remains in the nursing home in St. Paul, Nebraska because he just never got strong enough to go home. I wanted so much for him to come to Idaho and live in the Veterans Home but he just could not leave his home state. I am very sad to know he is going to die without any family near him. Alone except for strangers! Not strangers in the fact that he does not know them but not loving family. Dad breaks hearts of all the nursing staff at the home. He is a very lovable guy with a quick smile and wit to match. I pray that God is merciful in the taking of Dad. I do not want him to suffer in any way. It is so bitterly cold in Nebraska right now, I guess it is fitting in a way. I will continue to pray for Dad, I will always love him and remember fondly the good times when we were a family. Thank you to all my sisters for being who you are!