Thursday, November 8, 2007
A Simple Man
I lost my dad on October 9; five years and six days after the passing of my husband, Lee. I could give you the minutes that separate the two events, so great an impact do they have on my life.
My dad is gone. Gone. That is so hard for me to wrap my head around. Who will I call when I need to know which hand cleaner removes tar and pitch? Who is going to repair the yard ornaments he so lovingly created and my animals so unwittingly damage? Who is going to say, “Hey Sis, how’s it going?”
Dad was a simple man. He was born on a farm in Eastern Oregon, and joined the Army at age 17. His heroism saved many lives during the Korean War, and he returned to Portland, met and married a beautiful young thing (my Mom), and settled down into a quiet life of work and family.
When he was diagnosed with inoperable, untreatable cancer a year ago, the first thing he said to the family was, “I just want you all to know that, if I had it to do all over again, I would have chosen this exact same life. I’m a lucky man, and have been given a better life than I probably deserved.”
He was so gracious in the months that followed. He was so grateful, so appreciative of the world around him. He maintained as much independence as he could, right to the end. He was not one for sitting around and moaning about what he couldn’t do. He was too busy doing all the things he still could (and a few that he probably shouldn’t…)
During September, the disease really started to take its toll. Dad spent a lot of time sitting in the sun on the back patio, enjoying the warmth, the sights and the sounds. Living. Living as fully as a man wracked with cancer could possibly live. Four days before his death, I found him propped up in bed, reading the paper. ‘Hey, Sis, how’s it going?” he said.
How’s it going? Well, I miss you, Dad. I’m doing my best to follow your example - to live every moment of every day. To avoid moaning about what can’t be, and to fully appreciate what is. To live a joyous, meaningful life that is a blessing to others. To be just like my Dad.
In Memory of Harold “Sonny” Wilson, July 11, 1928 – October 9, 2007