June 21, 2009

{June 21, 2009, Father’s Day}

Raising a Father is a journey to celebrate every father and every child one at a time. It am saddened to hear that my close friend Lane lost his father the day before Father’s Day. Let us celebrate Lane’s father, Frank, and his life in Lane’s own words. I dedicate this Father’s Day blog to Frank and pray for the Cardwell family.
A Tribute to Franklin (Frank) Lane Cardwell

My father died today. It was 83 years and 9 days after his birth, one day before Father's Day, and six days before I was going to be in Orlando to visit him and my mother. Plans change. Now I will go to Orlando earlier than planned, visit my mother and sisters, and honor my father's life.

His life really needs no honoring. The way that he lived, loved, and laughed always spoke volumes about the man, the husband, and the father that he was. Everyone loved him, and he loved everyone. He will always be remembered that way.

Most of his friends, former co-workers, and family members will not be able to come to see him off. He outlived most of them, and the others can't travel. No matter. They will be there in spirit.

He and I have not spoken for many years. Not that he didn't want to, he just wasn't able to with his condition. I spoke, he smiled, and I always wondered what he thought about what I was saying. I hope that he approved.

He went out on his own terms. He almost died two and a half years ago. The doctors didn't want to perform the surgery that could have killed him on the operating table. They told us that even if he lived his quality of life would be poor. To have not done the surgery would have killed him as well. His tears upon hearing that they may not do the surgery told us all that we needed to know. He wanted more life, even if it was a poor life. The surgeon performed the surgery, and my father lived until today soaking up all that he could until he had feasted enough and decided that today was the day.

His decision, his life, his way. He went to sleep and never woke up. I can't help but think that sometime over the past few days he thought about his life, the way that I think about a meal, and decided that he was full.

He will be missed by many but will live on in the hearts of all who knew him.

Sleep well, Dad. And Happy Father's Day.


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1 comment:

  1. Rick BallJune 23, 2009

    I recall the sensation as if it were yesterday.
    It was a big car, a Buick I think or perhaps an Oldsmobile, the name plate isn't really important.

    The man with the huge smile, the laugh that would fill a room was perched behind the wheel imploring me to close my eyes. Dutifully, I squeezed them shut trying to discern the moment when the car stopped...but no matter how many times I tried I could never catch him doing it, nor try as I might in the years since, I could never repeat it!

    It was the same when my eyes were wide open. Taking the glass bottom bucket being thrust toward me, hearing him exclaim, "watch this!" I saw it unfold beneath me as I struggled to keep my balance peering intently beyond the bubbles at the young man some 53 feet below. It was a finger tapping the diver on the back, waving at him as he turned to see who or what it was!

    It was his uniform, not the one with wings and the sunburned indian nor the one that really was nothing more than a pair of department store variety swim trunks...it was the one he wore everywhere. It was unmistakeable, that smile, the roll of those eyes, the laugh.

    I don't know if I will ever ride in another big Buick or find a similar bucket but if I do I will aim it up....toward the heavens...beyond where Brand X once flew. I'm sure he's there, smiling still, laughing at someone else who will never master Score Four.

    -Rick Ball


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