Thank you all for all the comments, tweets, Facebook messages, phone calls, emails, texts and all else regarding my father. As many of you know, he passed away on December 11, 2011 at the age of 60.
I was blessed to spend eight days in Costa Rica earlier this month while he was in the hospital. He couldn’t speak other than through his eyes, but he knew I was beside him. He cried, he blinked to answer my questions, and he let me take care of him as best I could. I got to talk to him a lot and for that I’ll always be grateful.
Less than 12 hours after I got back from that trip, Daddy Roo’s grandfather died. He was 100 and lived a long, full life. I didn’t go with him to Pennsylvania to attend his funeral. I was actually up in Pennsylvania when Dad first went into the hospital (visiting Daddy Roo’s other grandparents). Literally minutes after they all sang Happy Birthday to me (my b-day was on Thanksgiving this year), I got the call about my Dad.
That we needed to get to Costa Rica. That he might not make it.
As much as I wanted to be with my husband for his grandfather’s funeral, I was terrified to go back. Dad had seemed to be improving some, but in case something happened to Dad, I didn’t want to be eight hours from home again. A day and a half after I returned from Costa Rica, Daddy Roo headed to Pennsylvania to attend the funeral.
My worst fear came true on that Sunday morning. I got the news about Dad’s death on the day that Daddy Roo and his brother were driving back from Pennsylvania. I was alone in the house with the kids when I found out. I was a mess.
Last week, six days after I got back from my first trip, I returned to Costa Rica again to attend my Dad’s funeral. And later today, we will honor him here in the United States with a memorial service.
At the funeral, my uncle read letters from me, my stepmom and my aunts (Dad’s sisters). I was asked to write the letter just hours before the funeral. My hand shook when I took the pen in my hand. I worried about not having the right words. But then I wrote how I write the most pure… when I don’t worry if anyone else will think it’s good enough, profound enough, strong enough. I write from the heart and don’t edit until I’m done.
Here’s the letter I wrote to my father…
I have this picture of you where you are laughing so hard while holding Noah and Ethan in your arms. You always hated taking pictures – you never wanted to look at the camera – so to me, this picture is priceless.
Because you’re happy, you’re smiling and you were in the moment. Not noticing the click of the camera, but enjoying life and your grandchildren.
That’s the face I see when I think of you. That face. That laugh.
I miss you so much already but I know you are with God. Noah asked me if heaven is further than Costa Rica. I said it was. But you’re actually closer to us now than ever. Because you are with us all the time. Always.
I love you.