I lost my rock!
by Kathryn Hacker
Five years ago on September 29, 2006, I lost the rock of my life. I only searched recently for this exact date. I couldn't bring myself to know the "real" date. I felt if I knew this date I would be admitting to myself that my father was gone from my life forever.
For my entire life my father was the most important person in my life. He was my supporter, my encourager, and my beacon for good. Because of things that happened very early in my life, my mother couldn't love me, so my father stepped up and became both parents. As a small child I would go everywhere with my father. I remember Saturdays going to the hardware store and Pep Boys. My father taught me how to keep a box score at a Padres game. This was not what other little girls were doing.
As I grew and made the usual mistakes of youth my father was always supportive. When I earned a bad grade he would ask, "Did you try your best?" When I was having trouble in my marriage he would ask,"Have you tried to make it better?" He never criticized me, he would ask the correct questions.
As my mother entered that long road of dementia I witnessed the true love and loyalty my father felt towards my mother. He never saw the woman she had become, he saw the beautiful young woman he had married in 1939. What "grace" I witnessed.
Shortly before my mother's death my father suffered his first medical setback - a heart attack while visiting me in California. Here I saw another strength in my father. He overcame this first of many health problems by his strength of wanting to live.
During the next 14 years Daddy would suffer many health issues - five types of cancer and a stroke. For twelve of those years he would travel with his son or daughter, live a good life, would be active, and would love his two granddaughters and two great-grandchildren.
His stroke would eventually bring about such sadness in my father's life. He would no longer read or write. He had difficulty speaking. Then I was called home to Bellevue.
When I arrived I was asked by my brother to take Daddy to a doctor's appointment. This was on September 12, 2006. The doctor took me aside to talk to me privately. My father was dying of pancreatic cancer and he only had days left. When the doctor told my father, he said, "I'm ready and I'm tired."
My father moved into hospice care and I would stay with him for the next 17 days. On his last day of consciousness I asked the priest to give my father the last rites. My father prayed along with us and strongly recited the Lord's Prayer. At the end of the last rites my father gave the priest the "thumbs-up"!
Now five years later I'm still coming to terms with the loss of my father. It is so hard to let go of this wonderful gentle man. He was the rock of the family and my rock. How can I ever forget him or let him go!!!!
God Bless you Daddy and thank you for my life.