"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

‘You were just perfect for me’

By on May 30, 2018 in Uncategorized with 1 Comment

 

 

Judy Kelts is given a lift by her Dad.

By Judy Kelts

Mom and I were from different planets that never aligned.

But thanks to Dad’s enduring gift of unconditional love, he helped turn decades of pain into medicine.

His quiet kindness, gentleness and caring were lifelong gifts to me. He always helped me feel loved and supported, special, talented and pretty; even treasured.

Dad was quiet, shy and humble. He had simple needs, and was happy and content with what he had. His only goal was to work hard and provide for his family. He was quietly religious, loved many old hymns; and was overheard whispering a prayer for God to safely watch over him.

He had several serious health issues, and was often confused, but he never complained.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves. My Dad was one of those men.

I was visiting in his room in the skilled nursing section of his retirement center. Twenty-four long years of dementia had taken a huge toll. He was sitting up in his wheelchair, drifting in and out of sleep as he often did.

We shared dinner, although he ate only a few small bites. He asked four times who was paying for our food. I gently reassured him it was all taken care of. We didn’t talk much. It was just comforting to be in his presence, and the most important thing is we were together.

He told me for the hundredth time about when he joined the Navy at 18, and how life was on the oil tanker Brazos, a refueling station for warships participating in the Battle of Okinawa, near the end of WW II.

He shared how he felt when he was finally on his way home, and how there wasn’t a dry eye when they steamed under the Golden Gate Bridge at last. He always choked up when he got to that part. He hadn’t been able to converse about most other things for countless years.

Dad had stayed awake for most of the piano concert I’d prepared for him, and shared that afternoon. He tapped his foot and smiled off and on. I’m nearly certain he knew who was at the piano.

As he slept soundly, sitting up in his wheelchair, I got up to let his nurse know he was ready to be put to bed.

But Dad woke up, smiled his special smile, and said out of the blue, with a twinkle in his eye, “Judy, I’m so glad you came. I want you to know I’ve had such a wonderful, happy life. You were just perfect for me.”

Soon after my Dad passed, at nearly 90, this lifelong Daddy’s girl was alone, helping go through his things. I found cotton handkerchiefs that still smelled like him, his signature cigar, red suspenders that brought many tears, and one of his old wallets. There was no money inside, nothing of value. It was totally empty except for one thing. There was a picture of me.

Thanks, Dad.

Judy Kelts, a retired elementary teacher and active community volunteer, moved here with husband David in 2005

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  1. Annette Byrd says:

    This story touched me deeply. What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing this.

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