Today is fifteen years since my sister called me and asked if Mike was home.
Her next statement was: “Dad died today.” He was 66 and in perfectly good health. A slender and active, golf obsessed, 8-year widower.
This is the call nobody wants. Out of the blue. No warning. It happened in his parked car while running a simple errand. Massive MI. Myocardial infarction. I like to think his heart was pushed beyond capacity. It couldn’t bear the weight of love; given and received, the miss of his bride, and a life so well lived.
My Dad supported a family of eight and bore the grief of losing their infant son, the seventh of their seven children. Life was not easy for him but it was good. He puffed his chest with pride at the many, many dance recitals, sporting events, school honors assemblies, high school and college graduations and the birth of eleven of their nineteen grandchildren. His bride saw one, our beloved Andrew. My parents ran a tight ship with accountabilities and consequences.
His most proud moment was every single time he walked into a room with my Mother. Peacock proud of her beauty, her soul and her character. She was his queen.
He was not perfect. Life pressed hard on this man with many responsibilities. Sometimes unpleasant, his compass stayed calibrated. God first. Then family. Then work. Everything else will work out.
Two days before his sudden death, I asked him how he was doing. He said: “Clair, I have no problems.” I was struck at his uncomplicated view on his sometimes complicated life.
I am utterly grateful for the 34 years I had my Dad around.
As for the fifteen years since, well, for him I am living a life full of love.
Hopefully with many years to go. However, heaven will be quite a homecoming.