Rest In Peace, Dad

I was awoken at 2:30 this morning, because Dad was in trouble. He was having trouble breathing.

It was a gurgling sound that he was making, and I have heard that sound before, just before my Mother-in-law passed last month.

We made a call to the respite folks. They suggested that we roll him on to his side, to hopefully drain the fluid building up in his throat. But it didn’t work.

A second call was made, and two angels came as quickly as they could.

The nurse who came was absolutely outstanding. She, with the help of her trainee, did everything they could to make Dad more comfortable. Then, they took a little time to make us feel better.

Meanwhile, we had contacted my sister and her husband, who had flown in from Hawaii last night (they were just next door, so they came right over). It’s a long trip to Florida, especially right after the Memorial Day weekend, but they made it in Tuesday evening and got to spend a little time with Dad. They had hardly any communication, unfortunately, but Dad knew his eldest daughter had finally made it in to see him. The rest of us “kids” had come in over the weekend.

Then the angels went back to work. They did more to help Dad feel better and cleaned him up. Finally, the head nurse / angel noticed that Dad’s eyes and eyelids had “stuff” on them. So, she cleaned his eyes.

With his eyes now clear so that he could see where he was going, he took his final breath.

My Dad, whose first gift he ever gave to me was his own name, was 81. And to this day, I am proud to wear that moniker.

Rest in peace, Dad. Someday, we shall meet again.

Memorial Day 2017

I hope that you have been able to celebrate this Memorial Day with those most important to you, be they family or friends.

I am here in Florida, currently at my Dad’s dining room table. Dad is in the next room, resting at this moment. My brother and sister are en route to the airport, hoping that the weather will be kind and they can fly back into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport this evening, then back out very shortly afterwards to Manchester–Boston Regional Airport.

Memorial Day first started shortly after the U.S. Civil War. It was called Decoration Day way back then. If you would like to read a little more, there is a page about Memorial Day at Military.com that goes into part of the history of this holiday.

I remember when I was a kid, our town would have a parade. It wasn’t a very long parade, going from our town hall to our High School. But the parade route went down into a cemetery, and we’d march down to the far edge, overlooking the lake. There would then be a couple of adults who would speak, a wreath was thrown into the lake, and then someone would play “Taps”, which would be followed by someone way back away from the main ceremony playing “Taps” again.

Now, way back then, I didn’t understand what all this was about. But later on, once I did, I found I treasured these early memories.

While I wasn’t home for Memorial Day this weekend, whenever I was I always tried to get to our towns parade, or another nearby parade or celebration, depending on what my work schedule required of me. There is always a mix of young children, adults and parents and grandparents, veterans of all ages who march if they are able, and a couple of people would speak. In our town, the parade comes down Main Street and turns just before getting to a bridge that crosses the river. The parade always stops while those at the front goes out onto the bridge and performs the wreath laying ceremony, then they come back and lead the parade back up to City Hall to continue the Memorial Day observation there.

For those who have served in our Armed Forces, they know what this day means. They know the sacrifice that others made, done to help keep this country free. While Memorial Day is a day to honor those who died in service, I also celebrate those who, when called, would do the same today.