My Dad was the Love of My Life, My Hero

My Dad was the Love of My Life, My Hero

My Dad was the love of my life, my hero, my island in the midst of insanity. Still, after two and one half years of seeing the deterioration caused by Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases, his passing was a great relief to me, knowing he no longer suffered the indignity of being prisoner in his own body. Watching the deterioration suddenly accelerate so rapidly toward the end was much more difficult to handle. [ Read: Dad, I May be able to Outgrow you in Height One Day]

My Dad was the Love of My Life, My Hero
– Written by: Ann Frauenhofer (member of

The knowledge that he’s at rest at last gives me great comfort. Yes, I am sad, but after watching him deteriorate gradually for so long, the last minutes of his life were a blessing. I know my relief is likely masking my grief, but that will come and go when I’m not expecting it. Then again, I’ve had the chance to spend a great deal of quality time with him through the whole ordeal and in the end I got what I was praying for. [ Read: I Miss My Dad Soooo Much]

I had told him so many times that if he was too tired to keep fighting and needed permission to let go, I was giving it to him. Then I would follow it up with the proviso that if he decided he didn’t want to go on he had to tell the nurses to call me so I could be there with him at the end. I know he waited for me. Why else would he sleep so peacefully through the night when he could have gone anytime in his sleep, then wake up to have the hospice worker wash and dress him, then look me straight in the eyes as he breathed his last breaths?

Just the afternoon before, I told him I had been telling him it was okay to let go and now it was me who had to let him go and was going to have to say goodbye, then said BUT NOT BOTH TODAY! That was the only time he opened his eyes that day to give me a feeble grin; a grin nonetheless. He waited until I was ready to say goodbye, then gave me what I wished for, he passed without pain the following morning, with the knowledge that he was loved, and left this plane quickly. [ Read: Dad, although Time and Distance may Separate us]

I’ve never seen anyone die and the idea of being careful what you wish for because you just might get it (and not like it) crossed my mind many times. He made it easy. All the while he was gazing into my eyes as he was taking his last breaths. One sharp inhale, long pause before the exhale; a second sharp inhale with a little longer pause before the exhale; then the third sharp inhale with a very long pause and I thought he was gone; but he was still looking into my eyes so I wasn’t ready for it to end at that moment. I placed my hands gently on his chest and said, “Dad, please, just once more, so I can tell you one more time how much I love you and thank you for being my Dad”…and he did. Those eyes, those beautiful eyes were saying ‘I love you back’. It was the last session of DAMAS (Dad & Ann Mutual Admiration Society),

By then the nurse and hospice worker had come back to witness those last two breaths and just stared in disbelief, saying that in all the years they’d watched people die of those horrible diseases, they never saw anything like that happen before. My Dad and I were that connected and he knew me until that last breath. Then he was gone. [ Read: Whatever Good in Me is because of You]

His mouth took on its normal shape; his head straightened up substantially; and he had the most serene expression on his face, as though he were at peace knowing that he had said goodbye to everyone, saving his last goodbye for me. I’d been thinking, how can I go on without this man who was the most important, favorite, and influential person in my life; my best friend.

Then I realized that in order to honor his memory I’d just have to go on. He made me smart and strong, and while I missed him immediately after that last breath, I knew that I would be strong enough to go on knowing that he’ll always be a part of me, that he loved me best, and would live on in the form of energy. [ Read: Father: Our First Hero, Celebration Is a Must]

I know I’ll never look at another sky filled with stardust without thinking of him, because I feel that energy would take the form of stardust. So whenever I want to see him, all I have to do is pray for a clear night, look up at the night sky, and he’ll be there.

I only cried a little when he passed, completely lost it right before his military ceremony, and have teared up a little a few times since. I’ve been in a peaceful state today but who knows? I am totally aware that tomorrow will be another day without him where I may very well cry him a river. [ Read: Some Superheroes do not have Capes]

AF 8-19-12

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