Today would have been my father’s seventy-seventh birthday. He died in 1989 after a vicious battle with cancer. I miss him. He wasn’t an affectionate man. I often said that hugging him was like hugging a tree, but I still hugged him. He was critical and demanding, but I still find myself trying to please him.
For all the things that I might have considered lacking or negative about my dad and my relationship with him, there were some valuable gifts he passed onto me.
- I learned how to be a compassionate manager of people who is able to get more work done, but not just quantitatively but qualitatively as well.
- I observed and learned from him to not be afraid of a situation that others deem a loss. He was gifted at going into offices that were falling apart on many levels and helped to turn them around to award winning offices. He was able to see the possibilities and helped others to catch that vision and bring it into reality.
- One of Dad’s mantras was: K.I.S.S.: keep it simple stupid. Good advice.
- My dad was a company man: loyal and dedicated. I get that.
- My dad loved to laugh. I can still see him throwing his head back and laughing from his toes.
- My dad loved to get together with friends.
- My dad loved good music and I saw him dance.
I could probably go on and on. He wasn’t a perfect man, but when he died his family was at his side. We shed a few tears, but we also laughed as remembered his life. I will never forget the note that the hospice worker logged about those moments together as family: “family remembering and grieving well.” He wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Postscript: my deep appreciation for hospice came out of this experience. These are very good people. What they do and provide for families is something to be abundantly thankful for as well.