CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Here we are with another "first" for many of you -- the first Father's Day without your dad -- or your child.
No doubt you've found it hard to escape all the reminders -- the advertisements, Hallmark cards and references that start right after Mother's Day. Unfortunately, this "first" club is much larger than you think. And it may help to know others are going through the very same thing as they try to make sense of it all.
One of the best things about writing this column is the feedback I get from you. I always affirm that "we all learn from each other," and a recent e-mail I got definitely drives this point home.
Mary Schultz, of Charleston, shared with me her wonderful journey with her dad during his last days. She said she was inspired by my Mother's Day column, which listed words of wisdom from my mom, and then told how she recorded her own reflections of her dad.
Titled "Nature's Lessons," Mary recounted how she was a shadow to her dad during her childhood, following him around doing chores on their small farm. Curious by nature, Mary was always asking him questions like "Daddy, how does this work?" or "Daddy, why is it like that?"
Most always he gave her a proper answer, Mary said. "And like most little girls, I thought my daddy knew everything! There were times, however, when he wasn't able to explain in detail, perhaps because it was more than I needed to know or that I was too small to really understand. So, his favorite answer to me was, 'That's just nature,' and it always satisfied me."
Mary's father celebrated his 88th birthday last August and announced he was going to live to be 100. Through a twist of nature, though, he had a massive stroke around Thanksgiving, and the family was told he'd never recover.
They began "comfort care," providing only end-of-life pain management, and immediately joined the legion of fans (including my entire family) of the Hubbard Hospice House whose mission is to take care of their patients and their families.