Friday, March 12, 2010

memories of my father

My Dad went into a coma early Wednesday morning, and passed away last night at 8:15. During the weeks leading up to his death, we sat with him, sharing stories and our feelings. His life ended very peacefully, free of pain, with his family surrounding him. I think he knew we loved him very much.

Today I found a note that my father wrote to me when I graduated from college. He bought me a beautiful purse, and here's what he wrote in the note that accompanied it:

A special gift for a special daughter.
You did an excellent job and you did it all by yourself, that is really great.
You're going to go a long way in things you like to do.
I'm very proud that you're my daughter and I love you,
Your Dad

My Dad did not usually express his feelings openly, so receiving these words from him was very special.

Some of the most cherished childhood memories I have of my Dad are from vacations we took to Camp Sherman on the Metolius River. It was there that he shared with me his passion for fly fishing. He taught me how to cast a line, reel in a fish, net it and gut it. All with patience and a calm voice. The simple dinners he would make over a camp stove of fresh trout and fried onions were the best ever.

fishing on the Metolius

After my daughter was born, we took vacations to Camp Sherman with Dad and Mom every summer. Dad loved taking Isabel by the hand and walking over to the Camp Sherman store for ice cream and the opportunity to show her off to the locals.

Iz and Papa

Dad always worked two jobs so that Mom could be home with us and often had to work late into the evening to provide for his family. Even after he retired from his day job as an automotive machinist, he continued to work in his shop at home as an automotive mechanic, specializing in antique car engines. He was a true artist in his field, often creating small parts when unable to locate them for these long outdated engines. His passion for a fine-tuned machine stayed with him until the day he died.

Another attribute that remained strong to the end was his sense of humor. With his quick wit and huge smile, he had the uncanny ability to put us all at ease during some rather difficult times.

At six feet tall and 150 pounds, one would not have guessed that my father thoroughly enjoyed to eat. On a trip to the St Paul rodeo over the 4th of July, Dad and I hit as many of the food booths as possible sampling the cuisine. Dad liked to refer to himself as a supertaster, and I loved to tease him about it.

St Paul rodeo

St Paul rodeo

The definition of a supertaster on Wiki is: a person who experiences the sense of taste with far greater intensity than average.

I love you Dad!


Chicken Herder from Westville said...

Such a beautiful tribute!

I am sorry for your loss.

Susan said...

Dearest Cindy,

I am so sorry for your terrible loss. You loved your father very, very much and it shows in this beautiful and heartfelt tribute. What lovely memories you have. It's so hard when a dad works two jobs when his kids are growing up...there never seems to be enough time. But he took the time to make special memories with you that will always be with you.

I loved the pictures of him, but especially the one with you and the one with Isabel. You could see the love shining from his eyes. My heart goes out to you and all your family in your time of grief.

With love and affection,

Cathy said...

I'm so sorry to read about the loss of your beloved father, Cindy. You have wonderful memories and photo treasures to comfort you, especially the touching note he wrote when you graduated. You and your family are in my prayers.

Cindy said...

Thank you all for your kind words.

Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing such a lovely post. I am sorry for your loss but also warmed by your loving memories.

Sharon said...

Oh, Cindy. I am so sorry for your loss. Your dad sounds like he was such a swell guy. Thank you for sharing these memories of him and the wonderful photos.

It sounds like your dad was a supertaster on many levels, living life to the fullest and leaving precious memories for his family. A life well-lived is an enduring legacy to leave to one's children.

May you and your family find peace in this time of sorrow.


jazgal said...

Dear Cindy,

Here's to the memory of your father. Without a doubt, he was a great guy, hard working, and loved his family. The twinkle in his eye in the photo with Isabel shows that loving glow.

Although it is a loss for you all, a life well lived should be celebrated too, and you honor him so beautifully here. What a lovely way to share memories of your dad!

It is a gift that the family was able to be with him, that you were able to share that time together, and that he passed away peacefully.

All my love and sympathy,