A year ago today, marks a huge loss in our family. Dad lost his battle with cancer on the night of July 4th.
He had only learned of his cancer a couple brief months beforehand. At stage four, the doctor gave him a year- year and a half. He wasted no time in undergoing treatments of radiation and chemotherapy. I called him to see how he was doing, and he assured me that aside from the abdominal pain that brought him to the doctor in the first place, he promised me he didn't feel anything.
My wife and I flew out to Boston to come see him as soon as we could, and not a moment too soon. He was resting at home when we flew out, and seeing we landed at 5 in the morning, I showed her around Boston. We walked the Freedom Tour, I had shown her my childhood home I lived in before we moved to Cape Cod, and visited my friends John, Jen and their little boy. While driving to the Cape, Mom called to let us know he was admitted to the hospital with what we later learned was an infection. We met Mom and Dad in Dad's hospital room. He had looked better, but it was amazing to see him. Mom looked concerned, but as always, she put on a brave face. We had quite a lengthy discussion. We talked about work, the house and my in laws in California. We showed him the pictures of our old house, which brought a big smile to his face. She told him of the great sights of Boston and the freedom tour, and Dad couldn't believe I would bore her with such things. (When you grow up in Boston, you don't do things like that I guess) We laughed and shared fun stories of the good old days, so that my wife could enjoy some of our past. The medications caused him drowsiness, so he fell asleep while we visited and chatted with Mom.
It was only 6 days later when Dad would leave us. He was expected to make a full recovery of his infection on the 1st, but with the chemo and radiation, his body just couldn't fight it off. Early that morning, I got the call from my brother, that I should rush to the hospital because Dad wasn't expected to make it through the weekend. He took a dramatic turn since I last left his room. Mom was speechless as to how quickly things changed. So there we sat. Dad's surviving siblings came to visit. We all caught up on eachother's lives, talked about Dad and the awesome stories of a loving goofball who loved a good cookout, wearing his red white and blue. We laughed, teared up and regrouped for the next funny story. We Ginnetty's deal with these things with humor. Call it a defense mechanism all you want, it makes us feel better. Dad was heavily medicated, but he would react to what we were saying now and again through his sleep-like demeanor. Night fell, and we all huddled around him when he gave us the sign. Hurricane Arthur was blowing through all the while, which brought us some comfort, as Arthur is his father's name. Thanks for coming to pick him up, Grampy. He was surrounded by nothing but love when it happened.
Dad was kind, thoughtful, very smart, and even more loving. He loved his country, always unapologetically patriotic. He always said that the 4th of July was his favorite holiday. How fitting he joined his loved ones in Heaven that day. He left a big hole in my heart when he left, so I can't even begin to imagine the one in Mom's. But, he was never one to wallow, and he always felt that the party must go on.
I wish everyone a Happy 4th. Dad would want it that way. Love you Dad!