I apologize for being missing in action here on the blog for the past few weeks. We lost my father on the 18th of last month. If you have followed me here for a while, you may recall past posts discussing his condition and the frontotemporal dementia which had been causing his gradual decline for a number of years. The past 6 months the decline moved at a faster pace. He long out-lived the normal life expectancy for this disease which is 3-5 years. On the 18th of December Dad passed away in his sleep and is no longer suffering. Although in some ways we had already lost the man he once was, the loss of the man he had become was still hard. His wife summed the feeling up nicely with one of her comments. We might not have had all of him with us at the last, but we still had his eyes. His eyes looked at you with a kindness and love until the very end. Did he really recognize us in those moments? There is no way to know, but it was obvious he knew we were people who cared about him. Maybe he knew more than he could express. What did this teach us? If you have family or friends suffering from dementia, please don’t avoid visiting them thinking the visit won’t make a difference or will simply be too hard to face. How can we be certain it won’t make a difference? And…just what if it really does? Even if it is hard to accept or face the changes the illness brings to our loved ones, visiting them can still enrich our relationship with them. My dad was sick for a number of years, and it was not always easy for any of us to cope with. However, our family has been left with some very fond memories of our times together with him even during the years of his illness. We are very glad we have those memories. We lost an important person in our lives for now, but we will always have our memories of him.
I know many of you have followed along here for a while and were aware of his illness. Some of you may have even started following me long ago when I started writing to share updates on his status with family and friends. Therefore, I haven’t written here since my father’s passing, because it felt odd to write about something else before sharing the loss with you. However, I haven’t been sure of what I wanted the post about him to say. I’m still not certain about that, but I’m ready to write anyway.
My brain has been fried from spending hours pouring over a vast collection of photographs in a harrowing attempt to narrow them down to the few ultimately chosen for the slide show at his memorial service. We learned a few things while going through all of these old photos. First we realized my sister and I inherited our love for the camera from our dad. Countless photos included him with a camera hanging around his neck, and several shots looked like these. We also learned my sister’s proficiency for making really silly faces in photos was definitely inherited. The desire to travel seems to have been inherited also; as we have quite a collection of photos of Dad taken in various states and locations. I’m pretty certain he would have really liked my TinCan. (Lastly, unrelated to the subject of this post: I learned that I have far too many photos, and my photo collection is obviously very poorly organized. Now I have yet another project ahead of me…to do something about the chaos which is my photo storage situation-both physical and digital. More on this project in another post to come.)
Now I would just like to wrap up by sharing a few of the images that made their way into the slide show. They show a man of many talents who helped make us the people we are today. Enjoy!