A few months ago, Mom's cell phone plan was changed (one of those merges) and she wasn't too happy about it so I offered to see what kind of a deal she could get on my plan. It was a deal we couldn't resist AND I got a new phone out of the deal. Not that my current one wasn't awesome but I figured too much technology would freak her out... and I was right about that! She's doing pretty good on it though.
Today I realized I still had over 1500 photos and videos on there that I never removed so I spent this evening going through them and deleting them and forwarding to my email, etc. There were some very precious pics I found of my dad before he died, such as this one. This photo is everything my dad stood for: Love, family, and laughter. It brought tears to my eyes, of course, but they were happy tears because I miss him and love him so much. He was such an incredible man and my life is a million times brighter than it would have been without him.
The best thank you to him, was a hug and he gave the best hugs. I miss those days when I'd be rushing out the door saying my goodbyes, and he'd grab my arm and asked me, "Where are you going, young lady?!" as he pulled me into his arms for my daily hug. Nothing will ever take that away from he and I. It was awesome. I didn't even care if I was a couple minutes late, even this person with OCD who always has to be on time... besides, I calculated it in the 10 minutes cushion time so I really wasn't late, late. LOL Yep, OCD.
Then, I saw this photo. Tears flowed down my face and there was not a smile with the tears this time. I looked closely at his eyes and saw the misery and the pain. He suffered so much, being trapped in that mind and body that no longer let him do what he wanted. Parkinson's Disease and Lewey Body Dementia robbed him of many happy years with his family and I can actually say that I hate the diseases.
Now, Dad didn't know I took this photo otherwise, he would have put on a brave face for the camera. Like us, we put on a brave face for him and laughed at everything we could, to keep from crying. This photo really breaks my heart and I know Dad would be sad as well. However, this is not how I choose to remember him. I remember him for the man who called me Kammy, Kammy Jean, Honey Pot Pie, or just Honey, Sweetie, Sugar Plum, or whatever endearing name that came into his head. I really was his Kammy Jean though and that's fine with me. When I was a teen, I used to be embarrassed when he called me Kammy but I secretly loved it because HE called me Kammy.
Not only was he a special Dad, he was an incredible Grandfather. Any of the grandkids will tell stories of when they were young and how much fun they had with grandpa. He didn't have to spend money on them, just spend time. He always had a hug and a kiss and he had a special relationship with each one; making each one feel as if he or she was his favorite. Which was true... he had a lot of favorites! He even had special names for each one.
Knowing my dad is in a much better place now eases my pain of missing him somewhat but it's still not the same remembering his hugs. I'd do just about anything to feel his hugs again.
Love your family and friends... no one knows what tomorrow has in store.