Saturday, March 21, 2020

I have found myself thinking about my dad a lot lately. He passed away in December after a long fight with multiple sclerosis. In recent years, my interactions with him have often been very frustrating. As the only child living in the same town, it fell to me to try to stay on top of his medical needs and convince him to take advantage of help when he needed it. He was a very stubborn man.

Since his death, I think of him every day. At first, I found it mystifying. He was physically disabled by the disease, but otherwise fairly healthy until the last few weeks. I struggled with questions. "Why now? What could I have done? Did I do enough to care for him?" Then the corona virus hit, and I was grateful he was not here to witness it. As much as I focused on my dad's shortcomings in the last few years, he had many gifts. One was that he cared deeply for other people, from his daughters and friends to the nursing home employees who cared for him and everyone in between. Being stuck in the nursing home without being able to see us would have driven him crazy. He would have worried about the safety of the employees who cared for him and for their families. He would have worried about the other residents and whether they were able to communicate with their families. He was a great believer in the value of community, and social distancing would have been so hard for him.

He loved to talk, telling the same stories over and over. One of his favorites illustrates his love for community. At some point, the stove that had been in his kitchen as long as I could remember finally needed to be replaced. While at the local appliance store looking for a new one, the salesman asked if he cooked. His reply was that he did not, but he still needed a good oven because other people in the neighborhood used it. When the neighbor's four grown children came home to visit, she sometimes asked to borrow his oven when making dinner for everyone. At Thanksgiving, he purchased a turkey for the local soup kitchen which a friend cooked in his oven for him. At our family Thanksgiving, we often cooked our pies in his oven, getting them started and then giving him strict instructions about when to take them out. When it was time for a new appliance, he wanted to make sure these traditions could continue.

Recently, a friend said that sometimes older people die when they know something is coming that they would not be able to handle. I think this is true for my dad. I know that we will get through this current crisis and come out ok on the other side. I like to think that God is showing my dad the future from heaven so that he does not need to worry.


  1. I love the story about the stove. It captures your dad's heart beautifully. He sounds like such a giving and caring man. And yes, it sounds like the Corona Virus would have been really hard for him. It's hard for my 86 year old mom!

  2. I lost my mom about a year and a half ago and the waves of thoughts about her and how things would be if she were around haven't stopped. I too, am glad she isn't here to see this because as much as I wish my dad had his life partner, her anxiety would have been through the roof. Take care.

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. Keep writing all you can about your life with him. Your voice is so tender in this piece and many (including me) would love to know more about this man who was generous with his oven. That is SO incredibly sweet.


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