He Lived. He Really Lived.

My Dad knew how to live. He grew up, ran around the White Mountains of New Hampshire, joined the Navy and saw the world during the final 2 years of WWII, took advantage of the G.I. bill, earned a higher education and a few degrees with all sorts of important letters after them, such as B.A. and M.D., belonged to more than a handful of organizations, helped get even more started, got married, had a family, worked until retirement, traveled the world in the capacity of tourist, slowed down in his later years, and just about a week ago, was finally able to let go of life, and died. His body was more than worn out. He had outlived his “sell by” date several times. (He passed on 2/12/12).

As a child, I was always “Daddy’s little girl.” I was his only daughter, flanked by an older and a younger brother. When I was young, his approval meant everything, and I thought he knew everything. He helped me with homework, and especially with writing. He made sure we had opportunities to participate in a variety of activities while we grew up, so we would become well-rounded citizens. Among the activities were boating, skiing, shooting skeet, swimming, golf, tennis, attending summer camps and more.

The week before Dad’s funeral, our family gathered and reminisced, looking through old family photos and letters. I learned a thing or two about Dad that I hadn’t known. I learned that his mother had taken him hiking in the White Mountains as a young boy, fostering what became his lifelong love of the mountains.

As a boy, he grew up on campus of a New England prep school, where his father taught. We found a small newspaper clipping recounting an incident of a fairly young Dad standing on the balcony of one of the dormitory houses, shouting, “Down with school!” His freshman year of attending the prep school, he was kicked out for bringing alcohol into his dorm. (I had known that he was kicked out of school, but didn’t know why.) After spending the next 2 years at another school, he returned to  his original school for his senior year and graduation.

The two years after high school graduation were spent in the Navy, where Dad was an electronics technician, repairing aircraft radars on Guam and Saipan. He was there at the end of WWII. Taking advantage of the GI bill, he went through college and medical school, where, according to a few family members, he was quite a joiner. As an undergrad student, he joined several social clubs, had a full social life, and rowed crew.

My grandmother had professional photos taken of each of her sons as they went off to war, in case they didn't make it back.

He worked a long and prosperous career as a doctor, taking care of his patients, finally retiring at 70. Through the years, he was active golfing and boating in summer and skiing and shooting skeet in winter. During retirement, Dad (and Mom) discovered cruises! He also took classes learning how to use a computer, wood working, and more. And he took up ham radio.

As well as having a large circle of friends and co-workers, one of the most memorable things about Dad was that he spent his last 24 years, living with cancer. He underwent a variety of treatments, and even spent a year on hospice… about 4 years ago. They kicked him off it when he wasn’t dying fast enough (was how he put it). He survived so many health crises that could have taken him, that I referred to him as a cat with more than 9 lives; more like 25 lives. Unfortunately, his time on hospice this winter, was his last.

Dad was a man who lived life. He stayed active with sports as long as his body let him. And when he could no longer ski, golf, shoot, or go boating, he kept active with his friends, visiting and chatting on the ham radio. He took his vow to take care of his wife and family so seriously, that even when he could no longer take care of those around him, he wouldn’t let go. He still thought he had to take care of Mom. He knew we kids could take care of ourselves; but he still had the need to take care of Mom.

This past fall, I tried to have the difficult conversation with Dad a number of times; to let him know that we could carry on and watch after our mother. But every time I tried to broach the subject, he would become angry and tell me that he was not dying. He could not and would not face death. I finally had to write him a letter, telling him what I wanted to say to his face. Near the end I called the house to see if he had gotten my letter. The caregiver said that he’d gotten the letter, but hadn’t read it yet. Several days later, he finally let go. When I flew to mom’s house, I asked the caregiver if Dad had gotten a chance to read my letter before he died. He had.

Dad in Maine: one of his favorite places.

Dad, now that you’re on the other side, on the wrong side of the grass, in heaven, having fully transitioned into spirit, you are reunited with your brothers, their wives, your parents, and your buddies. I hope you now understand where I was coming from in our talks this past year (think you do). And as I am learning to communicate with spirit, I hope to continue our conversations until it is my time to cross over. As I said at your funeral service, “Fair winds and following seas. I’ll see you when I get there.”

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About mariner2mother

I'm a mother of a very spirited 14 year old son, and a former merchant ship's deck officer. To feed my creative side I take photos and make a very occasional batch of soap. I am also Reiki attuned and am a student of Energy Healing, having used several healing modalities to work on myself and my family.
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6 Responses to He Lived. He Really Lived.

  1. Such a beautiful tribute to your father.

  2. This was absolutely beautiful, Sue. What an amazing father and man. I know he’s very proud of you right now. I held my breath until I read that he had, in fact, read your letter. What an incredible gift for you to be able to say those necessary things to him before he passed. I hope you can find some comfort and peace in that. I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. Thanks Darla. I am very happy that he got to read the letter I sent him. I’ve had a few intuitive people tell me that they saw the energetics between me and Dad; and I’m pretty sure that my writing the letter helped him know it was ok to go.

  4. Lenore Diane says:

    Great job, M2M. A wonderful tribute to your Dad. The pictures are great, too. Handsome little lad he was, eh? The beginning of this post seemed as though it was written right after he died. Bless you for trying to get the words out so quickly.
    Your Dad sounded like a very cool man. I am glad he lived life well. I hope you’ll share more stories with us about your Dad. I know the more I talked about my Dad after he died – the more comfortable I felt. I just wanted the world to know how awesome he was … just like your Dad.

  5. Thanks Lenore. I wish I had one of the photos of my Dad when he was rowing- such an athlete. Yes, I actually wrote this piece a few weeks ago. I was letting it percolate (it was just a little bit difficult getting it finished and out) and trying to put together the photos. This was a little bit of what I spoke about for his eulogy. I’ll definitely have to share more stories- thanks for the idea.

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