22 July 2012
I'm very sad to report that at 7:30pm on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 a great man, my dad John, passed away. He was a life long soldier, a husband and most importantly, my dad.
In the days following his passing, it was very rough for me as I planned his funeral and grieved.
I moved from Los Angeles specifically to care for him. For seven years he has been such a huge part of my life. I have no regrets and am SO glad I was able to make him comfortable his final years.
Originally I was proud that I would be able to talk about my father during mass; however, every time I would try to read the words I had written to myself, I could only get through a few sentences before completely falling apart.
My cousin Robert had served with my dad during one of his tours of Vietnam so I asked him to speak for the family. What I could not say at the funeral I CAN print here:
"When John Jr, my sister Delores and myself were alone in the 'crash' room at the VA emergency room with dad after he passed, they both commented at one point, "poor dad".
I understood what they meant; however, in that instant, I did not see him as 'poor dad'. I smiled
and felt a joy in my heart that he and my mom were together again.I thought, 'what a GREAT DAD'! For he was a father rich in his relationships with his family and friends for 84 years.
This wasn't a time to feel sorry for him, miss him, yes, but not feel sorry for him. To have lived for 84 years and have a wonderful wife, seven kids, 13 grand kids, 18 great grand kids and one great great grandchild AND to have been able to know them all is an amazing accomplishment!!
He was able to know and love and BE loved by every one of them!
Dad was very personable. Everyone was welcome in his home. From the most distant family member whose name he sometimes could not remember to the ice cream man who would ring his bike bell as he came down the street and who could easily spend a half hour talking with him.
All his life my dads mission has been to serve and protect. First he served and protected his country as a young man towards the end of World War 2 with the Army Air Corps. Then in the Arizona National Guard. He would go on to serve two tours in Vietnam, resigning up because he wanted to. He would come home from those tours to serve and protect a wife and family.
In the last seven years that I have taken care of him he and I renewed our relationship that had been put on hold when I moved away. I would take him to the NM State Fair to the Spanish Village so he could listen to music and eat a bowl of green chili, something he loved to do with mom when she was alive. He would go on drives with me to the missions of New Mexico or cruise along the Rio Grande to Tingly Beach.
As he got older he would just say, "I'll stay in the car." The trips got shorter as his health declined.
And even when his mobility was limited, either John Jr or I would put his wheel chair in the car and just stroll him around the market so we could get him out of the house. He loved his trips to Dairy Queen in the summer. Strawberry Blizzard. He remained strong in spirit to the end.
His last moments were spent next to me in the VA emergency room. He was in good spirits.
The last thing he asked of me was a neck rub. He would drift into eternal sleep moments later.
There was no outward pain. No tears. No fear. No last grasp.
It was simply his time to go home... to his wife, 'Mickey'.
One day we will all be re-united as a family."
He was buried at 11:30 am, Thursday, 20 July 2012
My dad was given a military funeral by the Color Guard of the American Legion Post 15.
I am so very proud of my dad and will miss him SO very much.