My father passed on Sept. 18. He was 95 years old. His being gone feels like a hole in my existence but I am glad his suffering is over. His life is over and complete.
Dad did not leave a great financial or property legacy. His legacy was far richer than money or property. My Dad was a living walking demonstration of the power of giving our word, keeping our word and honoring our word. He did not have the mental ability to articulate this but he didn’t need to because that’s who he was. He completed caretaking commitments that lasted for 35 years. They included raising me and caretaking his mother, down syndrome brother and my chronically ill mother. I don’t recall his ever complaining about these sometimes overwhelming commitments.
I was my Dad’s caretaker for 5 and 1/2 years and remembering the successful completion of his caretaking agreements helped sustain me when dealing with him was especially frustrating. He had vascular dementia. Dad could be difficult and cantankerous even before dementia and of course the dementia multiplied the difficulty.
But I am grateful I was able to look beyond his personality and the dementia to see the contribution he had been to his family. I am also grateful I was able to celebrate and honor Dad’s life by sharing about his legacy with family and friends at his memorial service.
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