October 3, 2006
I believe in God, a kind and loving God. He blesses us with many gifts. One of the
greatest blessings God has given me was my father.
My father was always there when I needed him. He was a kind and gentle man. He would always tuck me in at night with a kiss. He was there to love me, support me, encourage me, and teach me a love for God .He never condemned anyone telling me, ”There, but for the grace of God, go I.” At a very early age, he taught me to love and respect all living things because they were creations of God. He attended mass daily. He told me it was important to have a personal relationship with God.
When I was a teenager, my father built a greenhouse in the backyard by hand. It had a pond full of goldfish with a bridge overlooking a beautiful waterfall. It was surrounded by purple, pink and white azaleas, and tropical plants of all sorts. He would say,” If you can’t get to paradise, make your own.”
When I was a new bride and a young mother, he was there. He would come over early in the morning to bring my older children to school for me, allowing me to stay home with the younger ones. He would take my boys fishing in the park. He truly enjoyed and loved his grandchildren. They loved him too, affectionately calling him Paw-Paw.
He tried to keep fit. He would run a mile in the park every day, and then reward himself with a handful of peanuts and a small glass of wine.
One November day, he developed what we thought was a bad sinus infection. He had a horrible headache. To our shock, it turned out to be a brain tumor. Being a nurse, I knew the gravity of the situation. He would need expert care. We called the best neurosurgeon money could buy. The operation was a success, but the tumor was cancerous. The months following surgery turned out to be very trying. He had a second surgery to remove the part of his lung that the doctors felt was the primary source of the cancer. Then he had radiation. It was so hard to watch him suffer. He tried to do everything the physicians told him to do to get well. Still, through it all, his faith never faltered.
In March, he developed pneumonia and had to be hospitalized again. He had lost thirty pounds and was very weak. He was wasting away. My mother would stay with him during the day, and one of his three children would stay during the night. It was difficult watching him decline so quickly.
My father yearned to go for his runs in the park again. He wanted to breathe the fresh air and see the beautiful flowers. He was so frail. I begged God to allow him to be able to walk in the park just one more time. He granted my wish. We went for an eighth mile walk. He was weak and pale but determined. I watched him take in all the beauty around him. He enjoyed the trees and flowers .He watched the ducks swimming in the pond. He looked up at the blue sky and felt the warmth of the sun on his back. I knew this would be his last walk. He died two weeks later.
Yes, I believe in a loving God that blesses us in so many ways, especially through the love of a faithful father. I will forever be grateful for that last walk.
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