Monday, September 30, 2013

My Daddy

I debated for a while about whether or not to write this post. Ultimately, I decided to because this blog is to chronicle major life events and also because dad was one of my most avid blog readers. He would still be disappointed that I haven't blogged since August 26 or finished my blogs on my trip out west. To say life has been a bit crazy would be an understatement so I think he might understand.
I would be leaving out a very important detail if I started my story on my dad with my relationship with dad. Dad's most important relationship was with my mom who he married 43 years ago. He was so good to my mom and showed each of us how a husband should love and adore his wife.

The story can then continue with us kids. He was a great dad to all six of us. I truly adored him. He was my best buddy. He loved to follow my travels and know the exact coordinates of my whereabouts. He was always willing to let me cuddle up to him even when I was maybe too old to do so. He was the best at corny jokes and one liners. He was my biggest supporter as an athlete and a coach. sometimes even knowing the scouting report on the other team better than I did. He was a wonderful father in law to my husband. Ultimately, he was the best daddy a girl could ask for.

On August 22, 2013 our lives were forever changed. Dad went into the hospital for abdominal discomfort. He had some shortness of breath so he wanted to get it checked out. During this ER visit they did a CT scan and found a mass on his pancreas and lesions on his liver. He sent us all a message to let us know that he likely had a cancerous tumor. He was supposed to see an oncologist early the next week. He didn't get into the oncologist until 8 days later. The oncologist made an appointment for a biopsy a week later. When he went in for the biopsy his blood was too thin so they couldn't perform the procedure.We were to wait another week for the biopsy.  On Thursday, September 12 dad finally had his biopsy done. That night he seemed weaker than ever. He hadn't been eating or drinking much so we took him to the ER in hopes that they would give him fluids and send him home. After a long wait the doctor finally saw dad. He announced that dad was actually in Renal (kidney) failure. He would be admitted into the ICU immediately. We called my sisters who lived out of town and my dad's brother and told them to get to the hospital immediately. 
We spent that weekend in the ICU waiting room praying and waiting and hoping. We got a few positive reports throughout the weekend, but on Sunday things turned grim. We left the hospital at 6:30 am and were called back at 7:07. Dad took a turn for the worse. He was stablized when we arrived. We spent the day with him and prayed he could keep fighting. We held his hand and both begged him to hold on and told him it was okay to let go.

On Sunday evening his body couldn't fight the battle anymore. He was too weak. His kidneys couldn't make the recovery and the dialysis wasn't working. The 16 people closest to dad were at his bedside to say goodbye. We lost dad on September 15, 2013...just 24 days after his first sign of illness. Life since August 22 has been the hardest part of life yet. Life since September 15 has simply been surreal. I have been so blessed to be surrounded by great family and friends but I still miss my dad terribly. The best parts of the last two weeks have been the little ways dad has shown us he is with us.

We have sat by fires at night and felt calmed and relaxed. We have felt dad's presence as we have just enjoyed being outdoors.
Three days after dad's passing we saw the most unbelieveable rainbow stretch across the sky. This picture does not do it justice. It was amazing and felt like a reminder from dad that everything will be okay.
This is the amazing tree where dad is buried. I know dad would have loved this spot and that I will feel such comfort when I go to visit him here.
Friday night after Dad's funeral there was the world's most beautiful sunset. Many of our family and friends sent us messages about how amazing it was. What a beautiful reminder of dad's funeral day and the promise that he is now at peace.

I know I will miss my dad for the rest of my life. He truly was one of the best people I have ever and will ever know. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to care for us and express your love for dad as well. We know he will be remembered forever. 

Below is the eulogy I read at my dad's funeral:

There’s no denying that our dad was the ultimate family man. As we have shared memories of dad this week and seen everything others had to say it became obvious that everyone who has ever known him would agree. His commitment to his family began with our mom who he loved and adored… so much so that he didn’t run the other direction when she said she wanted six kids and then proceeded to have four girls before having a boy.  We all remember dad as a hard worker who was somehow able to balance work with total devotion to his family. When we were little he worked late nights and would come home exhausted. Just about the time he was getting some, much needed sleep, they would send me (the youngest who couldn’t make dad mad) to go wake him up so he could make us breakfast. Alphabet pancakes and French toast were his specialty. His grand kids also grew to love papa’s pancakes. When we were little dad was our teddy bear, jungle gym, enforcer and coach. He showered so much love on us kids and mom and made it look like a simple task to lead R Bunch (as our license plate said). As we grew up dad’s devotion to each of us grew more. He was deeply committed to our activities, once even surprising TJ at a lacrosse game in Auburn, Alabama. He loved to text and call regularly to check in on us and the grand babies. Stephanie remembers countless messages asking about her boys and saying “I miss those boys”. Dad loved to travel and see different places. The Frost family is fortunate to have sweet memories of two vacations with mom and dad. Dad was passionate about Kirkwood and St. Louis sports. Tammy was lucky enough to take dad to Cardinals playoff games in 1996 and will treasure the memory of those games they attended together. Dad was a handyman with both cars and houses. Kara and Steve were able to benefit from his knowledge countless times as he selflessly came and worked around their house, teaching them some of what he knew. We all loved how sentimental our big burly guy was. When I was in high school I made him a picture with the lyrics to “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac and he held to it dearly. In college he would call me and leave voice messages playing “Baby Girl” by Sugarland. Papa was so special to each of his grandchildren and each of them were so special to him. Although there are eight grandchildren I am sure each would say they were “Papa’s favorite”. To the kids and grandkids dad was a lot of things but to mom he was her everything. He filled her gas, backed her car into the driveway, tended to her flowers, chauffered her around town, cooked for her, bought her the most thoughtful gifts and was her true companion in every way. Dad was and will always be a special part of our family. He was a hero and protector on earth and will continue to be in Heaven. He showed us that this week as we all saw a giant rainbow stretch across the sky. Mom even said, “Dad’s letting us know that everything will be okay”. Jim Valvano was quoted as saying, “Cancer can take away my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul” Dad may have ultimately lost his battle with cancer but we know his heart and soul live on in the legacy he has left in his wife, his children and his grandchildren. We will love you forever, dad and we know that you are now looking down on us very proud of the family that you created.