Hope your summer has been fantastic!
When I decided to close down my blog for a month and a half right before we left for our summer vacay (family reunion), I wondered if I really needed that much time. We were only going to be gone for two weeks.
However, there were several other reasons why I thought it would be a smart idea and those reasons proved to be true. I knew what was coming in my life--and sadly, it came.
If you have been following my blog, then you know my father was very ill with pancreatic cancer. We decided to have a family reunion with all of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. We knew Dad was going downhill and in spite of his determination to fight, the treatments were not working.
We didn't want to go to all of the effort to have everyone together just for the funeral.
We wanted to have everyone together while my father was still alive.
It was the best thing we ever did.
We had an amazing family reunion. We each had the opportunity to say our goodbyes to our father, grandfather, and great grandfather.
We had all been telling ourselves there was still a chance for him, that a miracle might happen.
But once we saw him, I think we all knew. He had lost a scary amount of weight, he could barely stand or speak, and he hardly ate anything at all. It was a truly heartbreaking sight.
Regardless, somehow he found the strength to get up and join us for as many of the activities as he possibly could, which was nothing short of amazing. It was only through sheer will power that he was able to find the energy to join us.
Here's a few pictures of all of us together:
(Yes, we had matching t-shirts! Except one of my nephews who insisted on having a different color than everyone else.)
The below picture is taken by the tree house my father built. (The one I featured in Girl of Mine.)
The below picture is of my parents with their living children. (My brother passed away at age 27. Pictured is my foster brother.)
The next picture is of my parents with their grandchildren. (The four on the right are mine!!)
Below are my parents with their great grandchildren. (BTW, they are all my grandchildren. And my mother is pointing to the one on the way, who happens to be a GIRL!!!)
This next one is of my family with my parents.
These pictures are now highly precious to all of us.
We left our family reunion on July 12th.
We each had time to say goodbye to Dad.
We knew it was only a matter of time.
My father passed away peacefully in his sleep, in his own home, on July 23rd while surrounded by family, holding his hands and talking to him.
If it's your time to return home, I can't think of a better way to leave this earth.
My hubby and I returned to Oregon for the funeral services.
Me and my sisters.
The fire truck led the procession to the cemetery.
The pall bearers all wore one of my father's Disney ties.
He loved to wear Disney ties and seldom wore anything else with his suit.
My father was a retired fire chief, a true American hero.
So, needless to say, it has been an eventful summer.
Chasing Fireflies released on July 1st, and then all of my attention went to family matters. (More on Chasing Fireflies next week.)
I'm home now and readjusting to life. The desire to remain in Oregon for another month with my mother was strong. But I had other family responsibilities at home and I needed to go back to Texas.
My father spent his retirement years landscaping and working his property. He has seven acres.
He truly created a paradise. It's so beautiful and relaxing.
This is the barn. The BARN! (The place where he stores all his STUFF.)
I've already told my Mom that I want to convert the barn into my retirement home. It's amazing.
(Decorations and popcorn machine left over from our Family Reunion. We had a talent show, a dance party, a painting party (choose a name and paint a painting for a family member), a baby shower, and a movie night in the barn. It's filled with wonderful memories.)
BTW, here's what my niece painted for me!! I love it!
Dad joined as often as possible.
Movie night pic below, projected on the barn doors.
Sigh. I feel peaceful just looking at the pictures. I could easily live there.
My father has left behind an amazing legacy. My mother wants the property to stay in the family and we are all on board with that idea.
Love you, Dad.
This post is dedicated to my father.
In loving memory.