Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day post

The photo is of my father when he was a teenager, fishing the Linville River in Western North Carolina. I came across this photo a few years ago when helping my grandma pack up stuff and I copied the faded black and white print with a digital camera. He's been fishing all his life, although he generally fishes salt water now. He fishes fresh water when he comes to see me, but with mom's health, he hasn't been able to make it up there in over 3 years.
It’s hard to think of Dad as old. He was probably 50 before I regularly beat him in one-on-one basketball. He had this nasty hook shot that couldn’t be blocked. As a kid, I'd watch him play baseball and softball in awe. Although I could hit decently, my fielding never came close to his. I think it was two years ago, three years after my mom’s illness was diagnosed, I flew home and when I saw him standing at the exit to the concourse, I saw for the first time the look of an old man. It was shocking for he was always so young. However, the next day, we were out in his boat looking for fish and there, at the helm with the salt spray in his face, he was young again. He loves being on the water.

I’ve seen a new side of Dad over the past five years as he’s cared for mom. Although he was never strict, I wouldn’t have ever used terms like gentle to describe him. But now I would. There is not much Mom can do for herself now and my father waits on her all day. He takes her to the bathroom, changes her, insists that she take her medicine, eats and drinks enough liquid. It’s a new career for dad, essentially working as a nursing aide. But he insists on not putting Mom in a nursing home, although he has recently started letting her stay for a week at a time for some respite which he desperately needs.

I know Dad misses traveling. He has travelled his whole life, having worked on the road for over 40 years. He started out with a territory and by the time I was in high school was flying all over the country and when I was in college that expanded to all over the globe. He enjoyed travelling and, when I talked to him about the changes that he has faced over the past five years, traveling is the one thing he misses the most. When we kids were all grown, Mom went back to college and became a social worker, but only worked a few years. She quit so she could travel with my father, who enjoyed having her along with him. The two of them have been together since high school. And they’ll be together till the end. Until then, and afterwards, I hope Dad can still get out on the water occasional and that one day he’ll be able to travel again. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
And may all you Dad's out in the blogging world also have a wonderful Father's Day.


  1. :*)

    What a sweet post. Your father sounds like an amazing man.

    My screensaver was on last night while I was putting away clothes (I know, exciting, doing laundry on a Saturday night: be jealous), and up popped a picture of a certain little boy I adore, mouth wide open in a squeal of delight. Next photo was of my Grandpa as a baby, mouth wide open in a squeal of delight. And even though they'll never know one another and are generations apart, it struck me how much doesn't change. Two different babies, two different lifetimes, but love and happiness hit us all.

    That's what I got out of the photo of your Dad, and thoughts of him staying with your Mom until the end. Love and happiness.

  2. I know how hard the life of a caregiver can be. I hope that your dad will take some time to himself before he is too old to get out on the water he loves so much. A nice post, Sage. Happy Father's Day.

  3. A very good friend of mine has a daughter that took to cocaine for a few years. With worry her face aged forty years in those three. Now it's only when she smiles that you can see she is in her mid forties.
    Worry ages people more than anything.

  4. Nice... a great youthful picture. I'm glad you can still see his strength and energy. What a good man. The stories of all our lives are amazing.

  5. I nice way to honor him. I hope he reads this.


  6. your dad sounds like an amazing man indeed... he may be a fish out of water so to speak but i imagine he wouldn't trade his life for another.

    great post and maybe you can share this story with him sometime. i bet he'd love it

  7. Great post... My dad died, and 18 months later, mom did. After 64 years of marriage, I just don't think she cared much about living anymore without him...

  8. I saw the movie "Away From Her" not too long ago and thought of your father afterwards. They had an excellent story on Alzheimers on CBS Sunday morning this past weekend too that could have been straight out of the movie "Away From Her".

    I have yet to see my parents as old yet but I know that day is coming. I just realized for the first time last year that my grandparents are getting old and that still hasn't set well with me. I'm certainly trying to make up for the fact by spending more time talking about their past while they are still here.

  9. Your dad is a hero in my eyes. That kind of devotion shows true love. I have seen that kind of love in my dad, too, as he takes care of his wife (my mom). Old age sure isn't easy many times but it often shows what true love is made of.

  10. Happy Father's Day to you too, Sage. Over here we celebrate it on the 19th of March (Saint Joseph's day).

    I agree with Tim about your father's care and devotion for your mother. That's admirable true love.

  11. Oh, God. You got me all teary with this post.

    What a lovely and tender tribute to someone who is obviously a wonderful man and devoted husband.

    I hope you can share this tribute with him so he realizes just how special he is...

  12. Sweet story.
    Your dad is a good human being. His dedication to your mom is tribute to the love he always felt for her. Love will make us do anything and conquer anything.

  13. What an amazing post and tribute to an awesome Dad! I'm so sorry he looked Old to you--but was revived when I heard what the Salt Water did for him!!!

    You---sound like a chip off the old block--and that Sir--is a compliment to you both!

    Sorry about your Mom...also forces dad into a new role completely doesn't it? But it sounds like he's adapted like only a warrior could!

    Your Buddy,