Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad!

Yesterday was my Dad’s birthday.  Normally I would have called and chatted with him from England and sent him a card.  But, instead we went out to one of his favorite restaurants to celebrate his birthday for him, because as of two days ago, he’s been gone for one month.  He passed away November 11, 2013, at 8:03pm from Bladder Cancer.  Yesterday, for me, was a little overcast.  I've been thinking a lot about him and how he liked to spend his birthdays, usually cooking his own birthday meal of whatever he wanted. 

My Dad was the typical middle child, with an older brother and younger sister in Indiana.  His family spent some time in Phoenix when he was younger, with them later moving back to Indiana.  He always like Arizona, though, and returned there with us in 1979.  He hated the cold and loved the heat. 


 My Dad married my Mom in 1967.  They were both young and gorgeous and enjoyed their lives together playing with their toys and having a great time with friends and family. 

When I was born, I was included in most of the fun.  I remember so many things about my Dad, both good and bad, mostly good.

-He always, always made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world, even with my frizzy hair and buck teeth.  Mom would buy me a new dress to go out to a special dinner, and my Dad was the only one that could tie the bow perfectly. 

-Dad was the only person, ever, to truly know how to make me feel better with just about any situation.  He was quick with a reassuring hug, and slow with criticism.  Dad just…understood.  Whether it was tears over a boy, a scraped knee, or as I got older more serious things, he was always there.  I could talk to him about anything.

-Dad taught me how to cook and appreciate good food.  We would often cook together, and watch cooking shows commenting on what looked good and what didn’t.  We went to so many restaurants and would critique them from top to bottom.  I could always talk food with him.
-He taught me how to drive in a GIANT Ford Bronco from the 70’s that was a manual.  It was not a good day.  After that, Mom taught me how to drive. 

-Dad loved to camp and be outdoors as much as possible.  I am not a camper, each and every time I would go, it would rain.  I stopped going.  We did like to do road trips together, though.  He once took me on a road trip all around Arizona and up into Utah as well.  Some of the sights we saw on the trip, I will never forget.  Dad was the best tour guide whenever friends or family from out of state would come into town.

-Dad took me to buy my first financed car.  He went with me, but did not interfere.  I always thought it was very cool that he trusted me to do the deal well.

-Dad gave me away when I married Jon, and bowed his head during the prayer.  He squeezed my hand as I walked down the aisle with him.  He smiled and smiled and cried a little, too.

-Dad was very literally the best Grandpa there ever was.  He had four grandchildren, two from each of us.  He had a very special connection with Joseph.  They would go up hiking and stayed in the cabin, picking black raspberries, fishing, and hiking.  Dad would listen to every single word Joe would say and carry on lengthy conversations with him about anything.  Jocelyn was Dad’s little princess.  She gave him snuggles and kisses, would dance with him, and follow him around everywhere.  She liked to cook with Grandpa and do fashion shows for him of any new clothes.  Of all the things that break my heart about losing my Dad, is that my children lost their Grandpa much too early.  I hope and pray that they will remember him, and I will help them with this looking at pictures and telling them lots of stories about their special Grandpa.

I miss my Dad so much.  There were some times near the end when he was struggling so that I just wanted it to be over for him.  No more pain, no more medication, no more stupid cancer.  Mom, Matt, and I were there when he went.  It was horrible and yet precious at the same time.  We were there for him, telling him how much we loved him, telling him he was not alone as his eyes frantically looked around, knowing this was it.  Now, I would give absolutely ANYTHING for just a few moments with him.  I’d tell him again and again how much I love him, how much he means to me, how amazing he was…just to give him a big hug and get one in return.

Now, he’s gone.  There are times when it feels like he is just away, traveling, not gone forever.  It’s starting to sink in more and more now, though.  He’s not coming back, I won’t see him again.  I won’t hear his booming laugh, or see the twinkle in his crystal blue eyes.  His entire being has been reduced to ashes in a box, and that seems so…odd.  His existence here is done, he is no more.  Yes, he will always be in our hearts, and yes we will always carry his wise words and beaming smile with us.  But, he is gone.  Forever.  There is no longer a Ronald Ray Fischer from Indiana, living in Arizona. 

Most of the time I’m okay.  I go through my life as I would, with lots of changes right now.  I think of him fondly and what he would say or do during my day.  The hardest times is when someone will tell you how sorry they are or how much they miss him, and that’s when it zaps me.  My eyes swell with tears and I try to keep it together.  I know eventually it will be easier and easier and the smiles will out-weigh the tears, but for now, I miss my Dad.

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