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Father's Day: My Personal Reflection

Father's Day is on Sunday, June 20th, 2021. On May 1, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed Proclamation 4127, which declared Father's Day as a national holiday, with the first official celebration on June 18, 1972. "Let each American make this Father's Day an occasion for renewal of the love and gratitude we bear to our fathers, increasing and enduring through all the years," he wrote in the document.

Every Father's Day I reflect on my dad, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 86. I remember my dad being strong and handsome. He served in WWII in the army, as a para trooper. As he aged he became docile, quiet and always thanking me for spending time with him. "Thank you for coming," he would say. "I love you." As my dad aged he became thin and weak, but his green eyes remained alert and clear. I strongly resemble my dad. I have green eyes and his exact hands. I am the oldest of four siblings and was the closet to my dad. He loved animals, wildlife, flowers (especially roses), zoos, golf, poker, cars and his family. He was very neat and orderly. Our home was immaculate. Outside our house was even neater, if you can imagine. We had the nicest lawn on the street with rose gardens and beautiful plantings. He took pride in growing beautiful plantings and did the work himself. He flew the American flag, proudly on all holidays. Growing up I remember watching war movies with him and he would tell me stories about his days in the army and people he served with. He taught me how to drive. He walked me down the aisle when I married and he loved spending time with my son, his grandson. Later, when my dad retired he volunteered at the VA hospital helping older veterans.

I recall one evening when I picked him up at his apartment and we went for dinner. When we returned he said he needed to feed the cat on his patio (a feral cat in the complex). He opened the sliding door to the patio and filled the feeding bowl with cat food. As it became dark outside he said look outside, there is the cat I feed. Well, to my surprise, this cat a large white stripe going down its back with a big black fluffy tail. I screamed dad that isn't a cat, it's a skunk. We had a good laugh.

In his early 80"s he became frail and could no longer live alone in his apartment. As a family, together, we decided he should leave his apartment and move into independent living where he would not be alone. From independent living he moved into assisted living, finally spending his last few years in a skilled nursing home. "Thank you for coming," he would always say to me. "I love you." Often times when I left him I would sit in my car quietly crying. It's so hard to let go.

So Happy Father's Day to all the dads and grandpa's (living or deceased).

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