I've just returned to Paris after a 15 day visit back home in Colorado. My days were filled with both joy and sadness as I spent many hours at my father's bedside as he slipped away from this earthly life. The sadness is evident. And the joy? Spending hours with sister, mother, nieces and other members of the family who paid their respects and sat around reminiscing about happier times. I was able to reconnect with aunts, uncles, and cousins whom I hadn't seen for decades.
The last three years of my dad's life were difficult for him and everyone around him. He took a bad fall in May 2008 and was ever after mostly paralyzed, confined to bed, unable to stand, to walk, and at first, even to feed himself. It was like talking care of a baby all over again, but one who was completely lucid and quite demanding, often summoning help with a whistle.
My dad was typical of his generation in that he believed in the traditional role of the father - concerned with earning a living and leaving the nurturing to my mother. He didn't change diapers or read us stories or share his feelings, but we always knew that he was proud of us and our achievements.
We saw a whole new side of him when the grandchildren and later the great grandchildren came along. He softened and became much more affectionate.
I like to think he's in a better place now. I try not to think about the last three years of his life and have chosen some photos of him during his happier, younger days.
He loved golf and fishing and he loved my mom. They were married for 61 years. The fishing was great near their second home in Fort Garland in southern Colorado.
My parents took only one major trip abroad during their life together, and that was a trip to Iran where my dad worked as a consultant from 1969-71. Here they are in Greece on their way to Iran:
Charlie and I went to visit my parents in Teheran in 1970. They always had fond memories of the Iranian adventure.