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My Father Died In April

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It’s taken awhile before I could post this. For all of you who knew and loved my dad, he died April 23, '05.

After being in remission for 14 years, he was diagnosed with cancer again in November of last year. The cancer returned to his lung, but unfortunately this time he also had bone cancer in the right side of his body. At that point the doctors gave him about six months to live. But they’d given him six months to live 14 years ago, and everyone who knows my dad knows that you can never count him out.

Fourteen years ago, I remember talking to him on the phone when he was in the hospital. He’d went in for pneumonia but was then diagnosed with cancer in pretty much most of his body – heart, lungs, and lymph system – but he was talking to me like it was no big deal. “Ahh, it’s just a temporary setback,” he said. “The doctors are going to take care of me and I’ll be back on the road in no time.” Then he handed the phone to my brother who left the room and said, “Get your ass down here, he looks terrible, he’s dying.” Turned out my dad was right. He lived 14 more good years, doing what he liked to do. Going to auctions, taking care of the house, having his morning coffee, reading the paper and making his list for the day.

Then, the doctors said he'd survived more cancer than anyone on record. In fact, toward the end of his treatment, they asked him if he wanted to continue the treatments. Since no one had survived that much cancer, they didn’t have a case history from which to make a decision.

I believe he survived that bout with cancer because he wanted to. He didn’t believe that it was his time to die. And, he had 100% complete faith that the doctors would take care of him. (Which is rare I’m sure.)

This time was different though. After the diagnosis, they ran some chemotherapy for the lung cancer and radiation for the bone cancer, in the hopes of maybe extending his life a little, but mostly to releave some of the pain caused by the bone cancer. The tumor in his lung actually increased in size after the chemo, and when the doctors reported this I felt my dad knew that this time it was time to go. After he died, my mom told me that she saw a change in his attitude after then as well. My mom also said he told her, during the afternoon before the night he died – “I’m tired of living like this - no one should have to live like this.” He got up in the middle of the night and simply fell over and died.

Although knowing nothing of Zen, my dad lived his life like a true Zen master. He never complained about anything or anyone. I cannot remember one single time that he wished something was different from what it was. He accepted the circumstances and conditions of his life, and without ever putting himself first, simply did what needed to be done in order to make the best of things for everyone.

With two children and three grandchildren in Florida, for years my mom pressured him to move to Florida (instead of just wintering there, from Ohio). He finally broke it down for her – “I raised my family in this house (four boys and one girl), and I’m going to die in this house. You can move to Florida after I die.” End of discussion. He did just that.

My dad was my biggest fan, as anyone who knew him from the old Bianchi Cup days knows. In the ol’ days of the Cup, Rob and I would stay with my mom and dad at the KOA in Columbia. We slept on wooded army cots, under the trailer’s canopy. [MontyPythonMode] We were poor then. But we were tougher then, because we were poor. We used to dream of staying in a hotel room… [/MPM]

At The Bianchi Cup, The Masters, and The Sportsman’s Team Challenge, my dad was the man you went to if you wanted the scores – before they were officially posted. With clipboard always in hand… what a beautiful memory that is.

Thanks to everyone who, over the years, expressed their care and concern for dad. I always passed those comments on to him, and he appreciated them so much. And thanks to P M Andrews for one of my favorite photos of my mom and dad, from the awards ceremony of the ’83 Bianchi Cup.

be

mom_dad_cup.jpg

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My sincere condolences Brian...

It looks like your dad was a very special man.

I fear the day I have to say goodbye to dad...

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Brian,

My father died much too early, in 1986. There is nothing anyone can say to fill the emptyness one feels at such a time, but after the initial blow, I find over the years I remember more of the good times we shared.

Dale

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be

I am very sorry for your loss. Our parents were part of a solid generation, no complaining and a lot of hard work. The values they imparted to us make us rich.

Bruce

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I am sorry for you loss. My dad passed in December and I still have tough days. I really miss picking up the phone and talking about nothing for half an hour. I still find myself dialing him. Stay well and take care of you mom.

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So sorry for your loss Brian. So glad you have such wonderful memories of your father, and you clearly want to celebrate his life more than you want to mourn his passing. That is the sign of a great man.

Jack

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Sorry to hear of your loss. I remember when my grandfather passed away. I was devastated. He was the man who taught me to shoot as a young child. He always took the time to explain things to me and treated me like an adult. I remember asking him how a gun works and he went so far as to take a round from his rifle apart to show me each component! He was an honorable, gentle man. He taught me to love God, family, and country.

A stroke took his life, but not immediately. He lived for about 3 months, bedridden and unable to speak. That was so hard to see. I was living out of state at the time and didn't get to spend the time I would have liked with him in his last days, something I've always regretted. The last time I saw him in the hospital, I said goodbye before I had to go home again. I somehow knew it would be the last time I'd see him alive. Although he couldn't speak, the look in his eyes told me that he was ready to die and it was time for me to go on.

He was an Air Force veteran and served our country in World War II and the Korean war. My grandmother gave me his well-worn Bible and his trusty M1 Carbine. He gave me a lifetime of memories.

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Reading news such as this makes me appreciate my parents all the more. Though we are separated by a few thousand miles and the 'big blue, wet thing', I am able to talk to them each weekend by telephone.

That part of our parents that touches us throughout our lives, never truly leaves us. As such our parents never truly leave either. They are just on the other side of the sky....

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Nice post Brian, thanks for sharing. I lost my Dad this year and my wife lost her mother. Nuff said.

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My condolences Brian to you and your family. My Mom is going through the same thing as your Dad did. This is her first time, I could only wish upon 14 more years.

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ohmygod.

That was heavy. And beautiful. Thanks for sharing. He was the man. (That was four decades' worth of cliches, but all sincerely meant). You were fortunate to have him. Not everyone has cool parents.

SL

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My sincere condolences.

I'm glad that you do have so many fond memories of your Dad, though.

Best wishes to you and your family.

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Oh Brian! I'm so glad that you have this relationship with your father --- and at the same time so sad that he won't be around to keep track of your future accomplishments.

Words fail me......

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Many condolences, Brian. Sorry for your loss.

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My deepest sympathies Brian.

I lost my Father in 2001, gosh it's been 4 years now. The pain dulls a little, but the memories of him are alive and as vibrant as ever.

Stay strong,

Tom

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Deepest sympathies for you Brian. Cancer took my Dad in 1988 - it was tough.

As Tom Dean says, the pain fades with time but a little sadness & a lot of happy memories remain.

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I understand how you feel, now after the fact and back then, during the unknowing and the questioning....

Both my Ex wife and my daughter have survived cancer,but it is a terrible disease, no matter what the outcome.

The feeling of helplessness, the anger at the disease, the unanswered questions that hang from your lips as you look into the eyes of your loved one are a really tough burden to bear...my heart goes out to you.

Even though he is gone, you will always have the wonderful memories, and the love you shared...sometimes you will feel especially close to him and his memory; as though he is right with you...at those times rejoice in that feeling, those memories and surround yourself with the happiness and good times you had when he was still here....Talk to him and tell him all the things you are feeling and the things you wanted to say but probably never did...he is listening and will hear each word...

Be proud of your heritage and draw strength from his teachings and wisdom...

Thanks for letting us know of your sorrow, pain and loss...sometimes it helps to get it out..

David

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I offer my condolences as well Brian. It is hard to believe just how many people's lives are touched in some way by cancer. My wife was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer two years ago and our journey for the past two years has not been an easy one, so in some small way I can understand what you are going through. All the best to you and your family.

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I'm very sorry for your loss. My dad's my best friend. I can't imagine being with out him.

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BE,

your post gave me the 'shivers', but what is life without death. It's the cycle.

I regret your loss, my prayers are with you and your Family. Parents are always special to one.

My condolences to you and your family!

Henny.

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