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My Dad

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My Dad

He celebrates my happiness
Makes me smile when I'm sad;
His love is unconditional
I'm so proud to call him, "Dad."

Growing up I recall
All his wisdom and advice;
Which today guides and leads me,
Far more than once or twice.

It's comforting for me to know
To my Dad I can turn;
Whenever problems may arise,
And I discover there's more to learn.

There is no man who walks this earth
Who is greater than my Dad;
There is no daughter that exists,
Who's more grateful, proud, and glad.

To him I am his sunshine,
To me he is a king;
He built me a castle out of love;
He's my Dad, my everything.
Happy Father's Day With All My Love, "Sunshine."
Written for my dad this past Father's Day

Dad's response:
Hi 'Sunshine'.....
Thanks for the lovely poem - it sure makes my day!!
Yes,you are my sunshine,
My moonlight and my star,
You're the poundings in my heartbeat...
So many great things you are.

My Dad was in the cardiac unit of Fawcett Memorial hospital in Pt. Charlotte, Florida. He'd been in there since April 29, 2009 when my Mom walked out of their bedroom at the retirement center they live at and found him passed out on the floor. He was 89 and my mom was 86. She had to ring for a nurse because she was frightened and not sure what to do. My dad was soon rushed to the hospital emergency room where it was discovered he had pneumonia. My mother was by his side from early in the morning until past 3 PM when the diagnosis came in. She called me later that evening when she knew I was home from work. Frantic and frightened, I told her I'd be there first thing the next morning (I live a two hour drive away.) The next two and a half months brought Dad a pacemaker, a chest tube, 15 days in ICU, two weeks in a rehab facility, and then back to the hospital after his lungs had collapsed. With every visit I made, every weekend, my dad would make jokes, keep my mother's spirits high, and tell US stories that made US laugh. He is truly a hero in every sense of the word and he had just celebrated his 89th birthday on May 25th. My parents anniversary was on May 26th. I know most children believe their parents to be special and/or heroes, but mine have a history of a love that IS special and honorable and has made me the loving and caring woman I am today. I am inspired by their love and especially by the courage I saw my Dad display right up to July 12, 2009, when God took his hand from mine and placed it in His own. The day my dad died was also my mother's 87th birthday. We were there beside him. Following is a brief tribute to both of them:

I spent the better part of last night reading through love letters dating back to 1938 written by my parents. My mom was 16; my dad was 18. Two young people who found one another through writing.

My mom had written an article about war, and it was printed in The Milwaukee Journal on July 16, 1938. My dad, who lived in Arkansas, had gone for a Sunday walk and bought a Denver Post. There, while paging through the paper, he came across a page that had photos of young girls and the articles they wrote on the topic of war.

Both my parents have told me their story of "how they met" many times, and I never tire from hearing it. My dad, after staring at the picture of my mother for a while, took the paper and showed it to his mother saying, "You see this girl? I'm going to marry her one day."

My grandmother told him, "Son, you better stay indoors for a bit. I think you've gotten far too much sun."

My dad, with paper in hand, wrote to my mother. She received countless letters from readers but only responded to one - my dad's. And so began their courtship. What was to follow was eight years of writing to one another and falling in love through their words from their hearts.

Soon after the first letter was written and mailed, my dad was off to war. Mom graduated from high school (she went to her prom with her brother, wanting to stay true to a new love she hadn't even met) and, after graduation, she was off to Milwaukee State Teacher's College.

The letters spoke of dreams and desires, lifetime aspirations, and news from both their worlds. The letters my mom received from my dad from Australia, New Guinea, and other parts of the world, were all censored by the Army.

It was truly an eye opening experience to read and discover this most private part of my parents' lives. To see and witness how they fell in love, to read about their fears and to envision my mother, as a young teen girl, wondering whether or not she would ever meet this young man. She spoke about her life in Milwaukee, her long hours of helping her parents in their family-owned grocery and butcher shop.

She talked about her siblings and how she had to care for them while attending school, studying, and helping in the store. She expressed her sadness in how the war was keeping her and my dad apart, and she spoke about how much she would cherish every single moment she had with him once the war ended.

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My dad spoke of his experiences of war, his feelings of love, and how much my mother's letters helped him to make it through each war-torn day.

Once, several months had passed since my mother had received a letter, she wrote of her worries for my dad and how her mind had a tendency to think the worst. Soon, the much-awaited response arrived. My dad had come down with malaria while in New Guinea and was literally at death's door.

He wrote to my mom telling her how he had prayed, "Lord, please don't let me die before seeing and meeting the woman I love."

His prayers, of course, were heard and answered. They both spoke of their desired future together as husband and wife and the perfect family consisting of two children - a son and a daughter.

I read the Western Union my mom received April 28, 1945 at 3:30 p.m. from my dad: "Darling leaving Harrison Monday noon, arrive Milwaukee Tuesday about 5:30 p.m. by bus. Will call from Chicago. All my love."

A month after their first meeting, and eight years after their written relationship, they married. They did make many of their dreams come true. They had the perfect family (with a few extra children than planned) four boys and a girl. Seems my dad had to wait until son No. 3 before child No. 4 was the birth of his little girl.

To read these letters was to see my parents in roles other than "parents." I saw them as young lovers, I saw how they helped one another through the difficult times, and I saw the real power of the written word. I saw how words were intended to be used - as an expression of one's heart, mind and soul. I understood how and why I have the morals and values I do and why I have such deep convictions about love, loyalty and trust. I understood better where my own passion for writing stemmed from - it was truly in my blood, and I understand where my respect for the written word came from.

This past May my parents celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary. They still tenderly care for one another - my dad, with his artistic God-given talent, designed and composed his own greeting cards for my mother, filled with messages of his love for her, right up until he died. The penmanship may have been a bit more illegible from my dad's shaking tremerous hands, but his sentiments from the heart had only deepened.

I think of the men who are now in the Iraq war. I think of the women they left behind and how much the times have changed since my parents love story. Now, with the age of technology, there are letters of love being sent via the Internet in e-mails and instant greetings. It's nice, I'm sure, for those involved to receive these. But nothing can compare to the old-fashioned love of a hand-written love letter sent through the mail. The anticipation, the smiles as you hold and smell the envelope, the joy as you gently, with love, tear the envelope open, the tears as you read and run your fingers across the words written by your love.

One great thing has come out of my dad's hospital stay. He was thrilled to discover one day when he was eating that his hand no longer shook with tremors. It was as steady as it once had been! He looked at his right hand and exclaimed to my Mom and I, "Look! It's not shaking at all!" We were ecstatic! Now I hope to see him pick up his artists brushes and again paint and draw.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. With Love and admiration always, "Sunshine"

Submitted By:
JoMarie Grinkiewicz


Author FL, US
JoMarie Grinkiewicz - author, 863 386-0274



dad, grieving, loss, death

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