In February of 2012 my father underwent life-saving surgery to repair a burst intestine and stop the resulting sepsis. His recovery was the second long one he had to endure, the first being after a heart bypass 8 years before.
Although my father’s favorite occupation since his retirement was sitting in a chair watching the Game Show Network, for some reason these long bouts of being home bound really put him in a grouchy mood sometimes. (See previous post about Dad’s Constipation Expression).
Anyway, I moved into my parents’ house for a month after this operation to help out with stuff while he recovered. One day he grouchily said, “Yeah, they fixed me up this time, but for how long? 5 years? It seems like a waste.”
Well, Grouchy McGrouchster, yes, you made a full recovery and lived more than four more years. In that time:
- You spent a week at the beach celebrating your 80th birthday with all of your kids and grandkids.
- You got to star in a community production of 1776.
- You got to watch The Tidewater Tides play baseball a few times.
- You got to see your beloved Red Sox win the World Series!
- You celebrated your 60th wedding anniversary with the love of your life.
- You saw your last 2 daughters, Meg and Jennifer, find love, get married, and welcome 2 new sons-in-law and 2 new granddaughters into the family.
- You got to play FDR in a community production of Annie.
- You got to see your granddaughter graduate from Princeton.
- You got to see your grandson get married.
- You got to see your first great-grandson.
- You got to see 2 grandsons graduate from high school.
- You got to spend a second week at the beach with kids and grandkids (thanks for paying for that one).
- You got to educate hundreds of tourists as a docent at the MacArthur Memorial.
- You got to make lots of trips to Holyoke to see relatives and attend school reunions, and host even more relatives in Norfolk.
- You got to spend 2 days per week with your college-aged grandson, who loved you so much he moved from New Mexico to attend college just a mile away from you.
- You got to whomp us all in Trivial Pursuit.
- You got to reunite with some of your West Point buddies, and write glowing tributes for those that had passed on.
- You got to travel to lots of places, including Colorado, where you ate Rocky Mountain Oysters, and saw the Colorado Rockies play while you wore a mullet cap.
- You had countless bowls of ice cream, chocolate cake, hot dogs, diet coke, coffee, and all the other stuff you love..
- You experienced a renewed energy in your Catholic faith, and even joined a men’s Bible study group at Holy Trinity.
- You spent hours and hours with your PIGS group, your Saturday night dinner group, and with countless other friends.
- You spent many joyful hours with your loving wife, letting her laugh at your same old jokes, as if it was the first time she had ever heard them, never taking for granted that marrying her was the best decision you ever made.
- You exited this world yesterday with pure class and grace, after winning over the entire medical staff that was taking care of you. You let each and every one of us know how much you loved us, and you got to hear that we all thought you were the best husband, father, soldier, actor, singer, mentor, and movie buddy, and that we were all going to be okay.
RIP, Dad. Even your grouchiness was funny.
To the rest of you reading this: Never underestimate what will come your way, even if you do nothing but wait…..