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Posts tagged ‘Remembering Dad’

A Year Ago Today

Dad Big SurI have been thinking about Dad a lot the last several days.  He died, a year ago today.  For a long year, it has gone by quickly.  I know he was ready to go—and we all said he would be glad to be with Mom again in time to celebrate her birthday.  Her birthday is 7 February, and she has been gone since November 2012.  I miss them both.

Dad photo 3My best memories of Dad involve treks into nature to take pictures.  Dad took all sorts of photos over the years:  wedding, yearbook photos, specialty group photos, and church directories.  But he seemed to most enjoy taking nature shots and making cards from the photos to sell in the neighborhood.  He did not have other hobbies, not golf or even a favorite football team.  It made it hard to buy things for him—there is only so much film he could use.

One of Dad's Photos

One of Dad’s Photos

One of Dad's Photos

One of Dad’s Photos

Dad photo 4 bolsa chicoegretOver the years, Dad and I took many little photo trips together. Those trips were a nice gift for both of us.  I can see him taking his time to focus on a flower, bird or vista.  He often wore his hat to keep the sun off his face.  We traveled up and down California, enjoying the views and spotting whales, otters, coyotes, lots of wildflowers, and even some humming birds.

One of Dad's Photos

One of Dad’s Photos

Dad photo 7 carmelWhether it was a quick trip to the Los Angeles County Arboretum or the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Wetland or weekend retreats to Yosemite National Park, Bishop or Monterey, we always had a good time. We were always content to just sit and wait for the sun to create different shadows, for the butterflies to stand still, or for an animal to get used to our presence.  We were comfortable with each other in those silences.

I value those memories and our time together. I think of him when I enjoy my photo trips to Nature.  Next week I am heading to Death Valley.  I’ve never been there; neither has Dad.  We periodically said we would get there some day.  I expect he’ll be with me at least in spirit.

Dad photo 8 flowers

The Last Saturday: Mourning My Dad

My Dad—Raymond F. Ross—died yesterday. 

patti with dad

Totally unexpectedly.  Heart complications in conjunction with congestion that settled in very quickly.  He was fine on Saturday. The doctor put him on decongestant and antibiotics on Sunday when he seemed to be getting a cold.  Monday morning, after breakfast and after eating some chocolate, he said his chest felt tight, but he was gone before the ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital for tests. 

I was not ready.  Am still not ready.

After all, he had bounced back from surgery about a year and a half ago, even though Hospice was warning us to prepare for the worst.  He had recovered from overwhelming grief over the loss of Mom a bit over a year ago, even though he still would retreat into quiet contemplation thinking of her and their time together. 

Dad in Uniform WWIISince Mom’s death, we had fallen into a nice routine of visiting together once a week, usually on Saturdays.  I would bring him a treat—he had such a sweet tooth!  We would share memories together of his time in the service, him and Mom over the years, our photo trips together, whatever came to mind.  At times he would complain he was getting old, and I would remind him, “I’m getting old—you are old!”  He would laugh, and most times remember that he had promised some elementary school teacher that he would live to be 100.  I did not quite believe he would be around that long—he was 93.  But I thought we’d have a few more years together. 

He was alert, aware, active, able to joke with staff and ask about family and friends. He liked to tease others and enjoyed a good laugh.  It was easy to make him happy.

Leaving the Church 1941

Mom & Dad Valentine's Day 2000


I was not ready for the call Monday morning that said he had died, the call that turned last Saturday into our last Saturday together. 

I am comforted a bit when I look back and see that our last day together was filled with some last acts that we shared—and that I can always remember:

  • One last round of teasing with the staff about him giving them a hard time.
  • One last chocolate before I left, as well as a couple on his pillow for after dinner.
  • One last hug and kiss goodbye
  • One last exchange of “I love you’s”
  • One last time for him to say, “Be careful!”

Those last moments together along with all the other past memories will have to last me a life time.  I miss you Dad.  Give Mom a hug and kiss for me.  I’m sure there is chocolate in heaven, but I will still think of you every time I enjoy a Hershey’s Kiss or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  I love you!

Dad smiling in blue

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