Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

     I will dedicate this post to my two fathers.  Both men of intelligence, that I know loved me.  I was lucky to have the best of both of them.  Not all people are blessed with two fathers.

     My biological father was, kind, handsome,(best looking man in 4 counties), brilliant, talented and most of all FUNNY!.  He was the life of the party.  However if there was a vice he had it in spades.  This did not make for a very calm or happy childhood in many ways.  But I knew he loved me.  He had a hard time showing affection and lost the respect of all of his children.  We remained close because I just always thought of the ten commandments.  Honor thy Father and thy Mother.  It did not say honor thy Father if he was perfect.  Trust me he was not perfect.  But he was my father and I inherited much of his wit, and creativity.  He was an artist, painter, sculptor, builder, loved to read anything and would give the shirt off his back to any one in need.  He was almost always in need.
     He suffered a stroke in 2005 and I went back to the Dakotas to help get him out of rehab.  I begged my sisters to come out with me but there was some estrangement due to our childhood and they did not come.  Dad drowned in the McClusky Canal 3 weeks after my last visit.  He was exhibiting signs of dementia, I knew I would have to come back soon and make some hard decisions for him.
     The sheriff called one Monday night and said that his boat had come back with it's limit on Walleye but dad was not in it.  I told him not to move his lawn mower (his method of transportation :)) as I knew he would climb out of the bushes and head for the first bar dry out and we would find him in the morning.  But it was not to be.  I had seen him, he loved to fish and went out with his boots on and a full catch of Walleye.  Who wouldn't want to go that way? 
     My sisters and brothers were devastated.  Some had not seen him in 10 years.  I was completely at peace.  His funeral was a riot.  We had more fun telling stories about his hair brained ways.  One of the happiest days in my life was when my mother left my father because I knew no one should have to live with him and his bad behavior.  But I still loved him.

     One of the other happiest days in my life was when my mother married my step father.  He, was NOT handsome, but he was kind, intelligent, soft spoken, loyal, educated, spoke several languages, one of the most interesting men I ever met.  He treated my mother like a princess.  She was able to live a life that was the envy of many women.  She traveled all over the world  with this man and he brought stability and calm to our home and lives.  I was always grateful to my step father.  My sisters and brothers were closer to him than I was perhaps because I insisted on staying close to our biological father.  I always felt a little on the outside with him. 
     He was very sick for the last ten years of his life and I was always going to Missoula to help when he went down.  I am the closest physically to my parents, my sisters are both across country or out of the States on business.  Both have very high end jobs, I am self employed so the crap work falls on me.  This always irritates me. My parents were due at my house one weekend and Mom called and said dad was not doing well and they would not come, but she was so depressed and wanted to see me.  So of course because she can throw guilt 250 miles ( I am hit in the back of the head with it on a regular basis)  I decided I would drive over.  I grumbled all the way.  I knew the instant I got there dad would be in the front yard raking the leaves.  Needless to say I had driven the road of death many times to find him out side puttering.
     When I arrived my Aunt met me and said you must have gotten my phone call and left immediately.  I had not.  Dad was in bed and talking with one of my step sisters.  He was not doing well.  I called my oldest two girls and they arrived late that night.  Hospice came in and insisted that he be moved into the front room on a hospital bed.  He was in a lot of pain and all I could think  about was how long will this last?  I have to get back home I have a show to do.  Dad was lucid, he understood us and could communicate.
       He was running short of a  particular medicine and my Mom wanted to get it refilled.  I told her I would go  and get it.  She said no she wanted to get out of the house she would only be gone a few minutes.  Dad was struggling and I went over to ask him how he was.  He said fine.  I started to read a book, but his thrashing was distracting and I said a prayer.  I asked that he be taken quickly because I had a very busy schedule and I just could not be running back and forth over the snowy pass over and over. (see how selfish I am)  A thought came to me to go find the Easter Hymn that had been played at his mothers funeral.  I went into the piano room and dug through the music and found the old Swedish Hymnal.  I played this song through.  When I went to check on him he was just lying so peaceful.  I asked if he was okay and he said yes.  I took his pulse and it was very slow.  I thought I had made a mistake so I took it again, slower.  This was not good.  Again I asked if we was okay he said yes, but he was struggling.  So I smoothed his hair back and took his face in my hands.  I said Far (father in Swedish) you are a good man.  You have been such a blessing to me and my family but it is time for you to go.  (Our older sister Hedvig had died a year earlier of breast cancer)  I told him, both of his daughters had been to see him, his son had called to say that he loved him and Hedvig was waiting for him, I said PaPa go!  Go toward the light.  He immediately took his gaze off me and looked in the corner of the room, I could tell he was focusing on someone or something, he smiled and he was gone.  When they say the light goes out of their eyes it does.  In a matter of seconds I saw him look at me with recognition, then at someone else and then gone.  I got to share the most precious moment of this wonderful man's life and I have never regretted it.

So on this Father's Day I say" God Bless each of my Father's the one that gave me life and the one that gave me hope".

Out My Window:    Sunny, cool, beautiful, looks like rain.  I hoed the garden!

Have a blessed and joyful Father's Day.



  1. What a beautiful memory and testament. You are truly a kind and loving person


  2. What a beautiful tribute to your fathers.

  3. Wow, your story is riveting, to say the least. Two very different men, but both with such wonderful qualities unique to them. I loved reading about them, and feel as if I know them now. Thank you!

  4. Wow. That was a very nice tribute to both of your Dad's. I'm sure they'd be honored to hear you write of them in such a kind and loving way. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. A very beautiful expression of love for your fathers...You are a treasure.