Thinking back….

The last time I saw my dad was on the day after New Year’s Day, January 2. That was one week before he passed away.

Mom and I went in to see Dad. He hadn’t been in a wheelchair in many weeks. He could no longer sit up, so he was placed in a recliner on wheels. The first time I saw him in the recliner, it was all I could do from breaking down. His body seemed contorted in strange positions and he was propped up with pillows.

Mom always went to the second floor to get Dad and would wheel that big recliner into the elevator and take him downstairs to visit with him.  She would have a bottle of Ensure tucked in her purse. She placed a straw in it and told Dad it was a milkshake. He would drink it down so well through a straw. Then he would drink a cup of coffee through a straw. He rarely talked on these visits and just didn’t seem to be much interested in anything. I always struggled as I didn’t know what to say….Mom would talk to him and fuss over him and he seemed almost distant.

On the last visit,  Dad grabbed my hand in his. Somehow, I knew he was telling me goodbye. We went downstairs for our visit and when I spoke, he didn’t respond.  At one point, his leg  slipped off the recliner. Since I was sitting near his legs, I gently moved his leg back up. He didn’t complain when I moved it, but later, he drew his legs up and said his knees hurt so much. He told Mom and I that we had no idea of the pain he was in. It was all I could do to keep the tears back. When I had moved his leg back onto the recliner, I was shocked to see his calf wasn’t much larger than my forearm.

A couple of days after my visit, my mom called and said Dad was in really poor condition.  He had internal bleeding but was in such weakened condition, it would be hard to even do anything for him.

Dad passed away, very peaceably. My mom, two brothers, and my uncle (Dad’s brother) were talking in the room when he passed.

I will miss my dad. He was an amazing man, driven by his deep convictions….

I guess the reality of the whole situation has suddenly struck me now.  I am so grateful that my dad was with me all my adult life. I know so many people lost parents at a young age. I thank the Lord for all the wonderful times we shared and all the happy memories!

Shhhhh…..

Don’t tell Ben I posted this!

Ben completed his first semester at SUNY Geneseo shortly before Christmas with outstanding grades! I was so pleased last autumn when he included a photography class as he needed a general course not associated with his business degree.

When I read the syllabus for the photography class, I cringed…not being exactly a “techie”, I was overwhelmed by things like podcasts critiquing photos, technical assignments, and the icing on the cake! The final assignment was a published photo book. My hands got seriously clammy even reading the word “stupendous”….the professor’s choice of words for an “A” on the book.

Ben chose the subject Barns of the Finger Lakes for his project. He went on photo shoots and I was able to point him to some cool barns I saw throughout my adventures. I was so pleased when his book’s grade was posted…he aced it with an A!

 

 

Remembering…

Dad and Fritzi

Yesterday, we made the journey to Jamestown for a memorial service for my dad. A sad occasion but we also had to be concerned about the lake effect snow warnings that flashed on signs as we made our way along I86. There were threats of up to 8 inches of snow likely to fall but we figured if the weather got as bad as predicted, we would just stay overnight.

We wound up traveling several  miles behind a strange getup…it was a snowplow with a “trailer” that was pulled behind that could actually be swung out to the plow’s right side and take up the entire two lanes of traffic, plowing and spreading whatever blend of magical potient that removed the snow from the highway’s surface. This contraption slowed us down a good ten minutes and made me fret we would enter the service late.  Thankfully, the trailer slowly backed off from the plow and pulled in behind it, allowing traffic to regain speed.

We arrived at the church with a few minutes to spare, enabling us to exchange a few hugs and words of condolence from cousins we had not seen since the last funeral.  Sad, but true…

The service went well…the pastor was so wonderful! Carly’s girls, Sarah and Erin, sang Amazing Grace, a’cappella and in harmony, perfectly! I wish I would have videotaped it….I read a tribute I had written the day Dad passed. I had felt the inkling to write it before he passed. Perhaps an unction from the Lord to do this.

For those who couldn’t be there, here is the content.

My name is Kae Manelick Catalano and I am Harry’s favorite daughter. Oh, I am Harry’s only daughter.

I think most all of us have heard the words of Ecclesiasties, chapter 3.

To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. Futter we read A time to weep and a time to laugh: a time to mourn and a time to dance. And verses 12 and 13 say I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.

My father,  Harry, did indeed enjoy the good of all his labor. He was a man who worked hard all his life. He was a man who deeply loved his family….if we ever needed help, he was always there. Dad loved working with his hands and always had a building project, or so it seemed. Although he wasn’t especially fond of farming, I remember the large gardens he planted in Youngsville and every spring he began working flowerbeds around the house that always produced abundant blossoms. He loved nature and his backyard was a sanctuary for birds… he was excited when tiny hummingbirds would return to his feeder each spring.

One of the most outstanding characteristics about Harry, though, was how I would best describe him. Harry was a man of integrity. He was honest, straightforward,and if he said he was going to do something, he always followed through.  These traits were not only evident to us, his family, but others saw them as well. As such, his employer,  MRC/SKF, requested that he serve as a loan officer at the credit union. He felt honored and accepted the position, spending lunchtimes meeting with the other officers. He was proud of Mom when she completed college and became a registered nurse and he supported us kids in our pursuits. He was a man of integrity.

I believe my dad’s parting words would be accept Jesus, follow God’s commandments, love your family, love your neighbor, and enjoy the good of your labor,  for it is the gift of God.

After the service, a luncheon was served in the parlour. It was wonderful talking to relatives and hearing stories about Dad.

We began heading home at about 3 and happily traveled dry roads. The dreaded snow never fell and we grateful for a wonderful day, remembering a terrific man.