June is a very emotional month for me, it's the month that my Dad passed away and it's the month that we celebrate Father's Day. So, every time I turn on the TV or the radio, I am barraged with advertisements about finding the right gift for Dad. Not that I'm taking away anything from anyone else, but it's just really hard for me to hear it.
The picture is my Dad, the guy on the right and his brother is on the left. They were at a Hawaiian party.
I'm not sure that there was anyone that didn't like him. Although, I may be biased there. He would do anything for anyone, and once he got to know you, you were practically a member of the family. All of my friends thought he was great. When I lived in St. Louis he came to visit me for about a week. I lived in an apartment complex where there was always a social event going on. When he first arrived they were having a happy hour at the clubhouse and he came along with me and fit in like he was one of the gang. So many people came up to me and said "Your Dad is so cool, I could never see either of my parents hanging out with me". The whole week he came to all the social events, he even met neighbors that I didn't know. When the end of his visit arrived, all of my friends tried to convince him to stay.
Then I moved to Chicago and he came to visit and help me move. Again he fit in easily with my friends and of course they thought he should stay longer. About 10 years later I was back in St. Louis and my Dad was living in Florida. He had had a stroke and wasn't doing great although he was able to be independent. My brother had suggested that I move there to keep an eye on him. I sold my house and quit my job and moved to Florida to live with him and make sure he was ok.
We went to all of his social events, dances, bowling, and even the seniors single group happy hours every Monday. Nine months after I moved to Florida he had another stroke and 3 months after that he passed away. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him. I miss him very much. I was very lucky to be able to spend the last year of my Dad's life with him. We had a lot of fun together, and I was able to be there for him when he got sick.
Here is what I learned, that you should appreciate people while they are around. Let your parents know that you love them. I know, as they get into the "golden" years sometimes they can be worse than 2 year olds, stubborn and demanding (like my Mom). My Dad was easygoing and a pleasure to be with even in the end. But you don't have a lot of time to really get to know them, I found out a lot about my Dad that year .
At my Dad's memorial service I got to talk to some of the guys he served with in the Navy, they had remained friends all of the rest of their lives. They told me some great stories about my Dad, things he never thought to tell us, maybe they weren't that memorable to him but his friends didn't forget. He is an unforgettable guy and I know that I'm not the only one that thought so. I am very lucky to have had such a wonderful person as my Dad.