Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

Dads are the Best Gift

By Lori Welch Brown

My father passed in 2020, and I’d give anything to have him back if for one minute. To hear him say, “Hey—got a little more of that ice cream over there?” When prompted about how he enjoyed his dinner, you might get a response such as, “It’s something to eat.”

Or even the occasional, “Hey, Lori. Can you help me with my shoes?”, before I had a sip of coffee to which I’d remind him my rule of “No feet before I eat,” and we’d laugh. He was wheelchair bound the last few years of his life, and it was hard on all of us, but mostly him.

Dad lived with us for eight months prior to COVID, until his safety became an issue, and we had to make the difficult decision that he needed more care than we could provide at home. There were a lot of highs and lows during that time with us. I was so happy to wake up and have coffee with my Dad. We hadn’t spent quality time alone together in ions. I loved watching Judge Judy in the afternoons with him—our ritual.

There were days, however, that I couldn’t wait to get out of the house, away from him and everyone else. Two days a week an aide came to assist Dad with his personal grooming, and on those days, I was out the door headed to the gym the second her tires hit the driveway.

One night when I was helping him get into bed, tears started rolling down his cheeks. My heart sank. It had been a hard day. A really hard day for both of us. I kissed the top of his head, assured him I loved him, and that tomorrow would be a better day. Just writing that feels like a sucker punch to the gut.

Then there was the day that I was downstairs sneaking in an hour of painting when Dad’s emergency buzzer went off. For the record—that buzzer sounded like a warning for a worldwide nuclear attack. I raced up the stairs five at a time, heart in throat, and yelled, “What’s wrong?”

He was sitting upright in his wheelchair in our sunroom just as I had left him. No blood, no visible signs of distress. Maybe he’s having a stroke, I thought.

As I got closer, he held his phone out to me and said, “Hey—can you get Joan on the phone for me?” OMG. I didn’t know whether to hug him or throw him out of his chair. I got his buddy on the phone and then laughed about it once my ‘fight or flight’ response settled back to normal about three days later.

I am so grateful for all the memories of my dear, sweet father. I could be sad this Father’s Day, but I’m going to do my best to celebrate him and relish the time we had together.

If you still have your dad, listen up…

You think they’ll live forever; they won’t.

You think it won’t/can’t happen to them, but it might.

You believe they’re made of steel, but they aren’t.

You think they don’t care and/or don’t have feelings, but they do.

You think you can procrastinate telling them how you feel, you can—but it’s not advised.

They are tougher than nails, stronger than steel, but they are flesh and blood and bone. They hold the world above their shoulders and carry it’s weight without complaint. They don’t ask for much in return—if anything at all.

In closing, I’ll leave you with a few gift ideas for the man who doesn’t need another tie. Instead give him:

The respect he deserves;

Time in your busy schedule;

Trust that he might actually be right most of the time;

Acknowledgement of the wisdom he beholds;

Both your ears to listen to the stories about his old football injuries, his time overseas; the big one that got away—even though you’ve heard them all before;

A hearty laugh at a few of his bad dad jokes;

A hug—like a real one;

A gesture of gratitude for the countless times he’s showed up for you—on the field and off; and

Tell him you love him because he is the best gift of all.

Happy Father’s Day to all those Dads out there.

About the Author: Lori is a local writer, painter and pet lover who loves to share her experiences and expertise with our readers. She has been penning a column for the OTC for over 20 years. Please follow Lori online on Medium for more missives like this.

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