Last week I lost my father.
He was 97 years old and lived a good, full life. He grew up on a farm, served in the army during WWII, and then married my mother.
They were together for 70 years, and like all marriages, it was not a fairytale. They both worked outside the home, raised my brother and I, and pursued their love of travel and gardening together. They visited every state in the US as well as most of Europe. They always had a very large vegetable garden that they sowed, harvested and shared with others.
The last few years were not easy for either one. My father had several falls, breaking ribs, cracking bones, and suffered some of the maladies of the elderly. But the most amazing thing was their devotion to each other. If it had not been for my mother’s love and care, he would have been in a nursing home. But her time was spent in making him comfortable and interested in still being here.
My mother stills love to garden, and so she positioned plants so he could see them from his chair by the window. It was too difficult for him to manage going outdoors, even though he used a walker in the house. He would watch the butterflies gather around the colorful blooms, and it would light up his face.
My mother’s love and compassion is what kept him with us until the end. What a wonderful example she has set for me. I am truly blessed indeed.