Some of you already know my Dad’s struggles over the last two years with emphysema. Two weeks ago, he was hospitalized for the third time this year. This time he did not come home.
He was admitted for breathing troubles and a lung infection. But just before they were going to release him the following week, another health issue arose, one they could not identify. By that Friday he was in ICU and the Saturday he was having emergency surgery.
It turned out it was his colon that had gone bad. They removed part of it and then we hoped and prayed. 24 hours the signs were looking pretty good. But, by Monday afternoon his numbers plummeted. Tuesday morning I got the call.
It’s very difficult to lose a parent, especially one who gave so much of himself to everyone else. I can’t say he was a man of few words because he could talk your ear off like nobody’s business. But, he didn’t really express his emotion. Yet, he showed in so many ways that he loved us all. People don’t have to say “I Love You”. They can tell you by the way they care for you and are always there when you need them. My Dad showed it by always being there to help you out, whether the grandkids needed a ride home from school, you needed to borrow a lawn mower, or your fence needed rebuilding. He was there.
My Dad made friends wherever he went. Whether it was Little League where he volunteered for 40 years, where he worked, or just on the street where he lived. A day didn’t go by that my Dad wasn’t out chatting to a neighbor or someone driving by. I can remember as a child getting stuck in the shopping cart at the grocery store while by Dad stopped to talk to yet another friend.
He dedicated 40 years of his life to Little League. He volunteered long past the time he had any children playing. He managed teams from the Minors to the Seniors. He was there whenever a field needed to be readied for a game or to throw batting practice. When he got too old to handle managing, he became the groundskeeper. He was still preparing fields for tournaments at the age of 80.
It’s going to be hard on us all. But, it’s a relief. He was such an outgoing person. Sitting at home under blankets with his oxygen machine was not the life he wanted to live.
So, rest in peace, Dad. I’m happy to know you are no longer in pain. Wherever you are you’re taking deep long breaths, chatting with some long lost buddy, with Sierra at your side getting ready to steal the sandwich you just made.
At the Senior Field Dedication in his honor
Ashland Little League, 2003