Sunday, July 11, 2010

A good day with dad (I'd give anything for one more day with you)

You passed away on Sunday, July 4, 2010, a week ago. Your viewing & funeral will take place on Tuesday, July 13, 2010, the first available date for burial in the National Cemetery. It gives me some comfort to know I will see you one last time in your uniform with your medals and ribbons, before you are buried. And I know you would get a kick out of the taps style military funeral you will receive at the National Cemetery. Yet, my heart aches to go back in time and spend one more good day with you.

I tried to describe my longing to U. and he told me that all of us want to have that last conversation. While that would be nice, to be able to say all the things to you that I wasn't able to; I know you know that I loved you very much. You knew ever since I was a kid that I adored you. I know you loved me too. When you were diagnosed with Alzheimer's over 3 years ago and your memory was failing, you didn't have to ask -I was there spending every Monday with you, bringing Astrid with me. "Remember I visit you every Monday Dad." When you were diagnosed with bladder cancer I took you to your doctors appointments, to radiation, and tried my best to care for you. God damn I miss those Mondays. I didn't know how good I had it, to be able to spend so much time with you. And at the end when you were in the hospital, I tried my best to care for you with warm blankets to keep you warm and held your hand.

What I'm really longing for is just one more summer day with you when you were able to sit outside in the backyard with me, watching your granddaughter swim in the baby pool. I wouldn't have to say a thing. I just want to spend the day with you. Hear your voice. Hear you laugh. Feel your warm bear hug. Smell your Old Spice. See the light in your eyes as they shine with happiness at spending an ordinary sunny day with your daughter & granddaughter.

You used to sneak over to my place after Astrid was born. I had flashbacks when I saw you feeding her, as you used to feed me as a child. The air conditioning didn't work well & the house would be hot as an oven during the summer, yet you didn't mind. You just loved sitting with me, shooting the breeze, watching your granddaughter.

You came over to celebrate Astrid's 1st birthday and cracked a joke that she made a good Korean in her costume. You also told me I looked pretty that day. I was the apple of your eye and your favorite I know. It hurts so much to not have you here cracking jokes. Today I'd happily even listen to your bad jokes, or ones that I'd heard hundreds of times. You had such a larger than life personality, it's still hard to fathom that you're gone.

In the photo above you're telling Astrid you love her "This much!".
I would bring Astrid over every Monday and we would spend the day together. Here you are reading to her. Christmas of 2008 I put together a Kodak photo album for you with this and other photos of you and Astrid together so that you would remember her. Now she remembers you. She misses you and still cries sometimes.

While driving in the car the other day after your death Astrid had this thought, "Oh no mom! Who are we going to have lunch with on Mondays now?" It was such a big part of our life. No matter how bad you were feeling, you somehow rallied, got dressed and went to lunch with us. Even when your feet were so swollen you couldn't wear your shoes, you put on open toed sandals and went with us. Usually it was our favorite Vietnamese restaurant next to Stater Bros. You loved their grilled chicken, accompanied with a diet Pepsi to drink. I went there the other day with mom & Bernard and I couldn't shake the feeling that you should have been there with us.
This is the kind of summer day I would give anything to have with you. You're sitting out in the backyard leaning against your cane, watching Astrid who is playing with Cathy. Gosh how I miss those days. Mondays were for you. Unfortunately you died on a Sunday, the day before I was supposed to spend the entire day with you. That still hurts my heart so much.

A friend told me that my grief & how much my heart longs to be with you again, is a testament to how much you were loved.

You had children late in life with me & Bernard being your miracle babies. Looking at these photos, reminds me how fortunate I was to have you in my life for 36 years.

I love you & miss you Dad.

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