On Sunday, February 28 it was a year ago my dad passed away. I still miss him and there isn't a day going by without thinking of him.
I like to share this with you, my memories of my Dad. I wrote this last year for his memorial service in church.
* 29-04-1942 + 28-02-2015
My dad cherished food. Especially savoury food, chocolate and yes, junk food. So I guess I am my father’s daughter. Some food combinations he loved are etched in my memory and inseparable forever. For example sweet peas with dollops of mayonnaise.
Fortunately, my Mom is an amazing cook so we all enjoyed delicious meals at home. After my sisters and I left home to live on our own they created their special time together by eating out every Sunday.
You can imagine the prescribed low-salt diet in recent years was a real punishment, especially in the beginning. But with some experimenting, my Mom was able to adjust to his taste. Unfortunately, in the last few weeks of his life eating became more and more difficult. But till the last moment he so enjoyed his chocolates.
My Dad loved going on family holiday. When we were young, there wasn’t enough money, so we went on road trips. I have very vivid memories of our family holidays. The Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley and Fats Domino was played loud on the stereo and my sisters and I were singing along. And not only the vocals, there was some serious human beat boxing going on.
After my sisters and I left home he loved to take my mom to exotic destinations as well as relaxing weekend getaways. He became seriously ill in 2007/2008. We thought we lost him, but my dad came back against all odds. He was even able to go on holiday a few times by plane and bus. But slowly and steadily his health deteriorated. Due to his kidney failure longer vacations were no longer possible. He always dreamed on going on a cruise with my mom. We were so happy that we were able to arrange a place on a boat trip for them. A boat trip especially for terminal ill people, with nurses and doctors on board. Their last chance to go on a cruise together. Sadly this boat trip had to be cancelled at the last moment because he was hospitalized with pneumonia.
My Dad lived for his work. He wanted to give my Mom and us the best future possible. For him it wasn’t just work, it was also his hobby and his identity. He bent over backwards to do the bookkeeping for his clients and prepare financial statements and tax returns. Often we were waiting for him for dinner because he was still somewhere discussing financial matters with clients.
When he physically couldn’t go to his office (he worked from home) he was still involved in every aspect. My sisters worked at his office and in the beginning he called for them so he could discuss the work. Later he was given a pager. Once it went off, one of my sisters would rush towards him with a note pad to take notes. I helped him whenever I could and every time I was in Holland, he was waiting for me with a big file of things to do and to discuss.
Even in the last week of his live he couldn’t let go. He worried we were not able to file the VAT tax returns in time.
Dad, you don’t have to worry, they are filed in time.
My Dad had a wonderful and subtle sense of humour and he could be quite naughty.
He loved to chat with family, with the nurses, with his clients, with the neighbours.
He was suffering from aphasia after his stroke. It was very frustrating for him not being able to find the right words. When his health deteriorated he was more and more in pain and he talked less and less. He became more recalcitrant out of frustration. Sometimes to the despair of those who cared for him. But he was still able see the humour of his situation. The day before he died we had great fun about his new portable toilet. Wasn’t it great fun he could go to the toilet (in the living room) and at the same time see what was going on in the street, and wave to the neighbours. His blue eyes still twinkled until the last day.
My Dad took great care of his appearance. We always teased him with the vast amounts of Diesel eau the toilet he used. He was always dressed smartly in a suit with his hair perfectly styled. At the end he wasn’t able to wash himself anymore so a nurse came every morning to help him shower. His suits were exchanged for beautiful pyjamas. Ironed pyjamas! And although it took him great effort and time, he still tried to look good before the nurse came, shaving himself, combing his hair and spraying himself with Diesel.
Dad, on your last journey you finally wear one of your beautiful suits again. Mom made sure your hair is combed perfectly and you are wearing your favourite perfume.
We all wished for you and mom to be able to enjoy a lot of wonderful, healthy years together. Unfortunately in the last few years it was not meant to be. We are so grateful how you took care of us and for the wise lessons of life you taught us.
We are so very proud of you. How you fought back every time your health got another blow. You are now in a beautiful place without pain. You can rest now.
Dad, I miss you and I love you forever.