The gift that the experience of losing my father has given me is that I try not to take my health for granted, nor the health of my family. Every day I (along with Husband) make decisions about our health: what our family eats, what we don’t eat, what products we use and don’t use, and the necessity to take care of what we have on this earth. We have a better understanding that these decisions we make play a role in making sure Son is healthy and learns to make healthy decisions. And we play a role in making sure that Son has two parents to watch him grow and explore, and become his own person with his own life experiences. I don’t want to miss out on all that my father has missed out on, and I don’t want our son to miss out on all that I have missed out on, losing my father too early.
I have an old answering machine that is broken. I won't throw it out because it has the very last words my father spoke to me on it. In this message his voice is broken and cracking. I can hear that he is trying not to cry, and he tells me he loves me. It was shortly after this that I rushed to his hospital bed and sat with my family as we held his hand and watched him take his last breath. I am so glad that I have this answering machine still. I will likely listen to this message again today, to hear his voice, and to hear him say "I love you" again. I hope he hears my voice today too.