COLUMN: Be thankful for time with father

Published 7:30 am Saturday, June 15, 2024

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When I was a little girl, I thought my Daddy could do anything. He could fix everything from a leaky roof to a broken heart. He could build houses and confidence in a little girl afraid to get on a big yellow school bus. As a child, I not only wanted my mother to kiss my hurts away, but I also wanted my father to hold me in his big, strong arms.

Vickie Wacaster, Patient and Hospice Advocate with Aveanna Hospice (formerly Comfort Care Hospice)

Even when our roles were reversing, and Daddy’s arms were no longer as big and strong, I still needed him to hug me and tell me everything would be okay. I also discovered that my Daddy’s need to be my protector was just as compelling for him when I was in my 40s as when I was a toddler.

The day my late husband died, though Daddy was sick and unable to drive, he was determined to be with me. I will never forget looking up and seeing Daddy’s cane touch the ground as his neighbor opened the car door for him. Walking as fast as he could, holding his cane with one hand and the other one outstretched to me, he said, “Baby, I got here just as fast as I could.” My reply was, “Daddy, you didn’t have to come. I know you’re not feeling well.” He put his arm around me and said, “I’m your Daddy, you’re hurting, my place is here with you. I’ll be alright when I see about you and these grandkids.” We were blessed to have my Daddy with us for the next 2 and a half years.

My Dad and my children’s Dad are no longer with us, so we can not visit them on Father’s Day. However, we are thankful we had them for the time we did. We have memories of the times we spent with them that will last our lifetime.

As a parent and grandparent, I know gifts are excellent, but parents want their children’s love and respect more than gifts. Even when the roles are reversing, our parents are no less our parents than they were the day we were born. Always speak to and treat your parents with dignity and respect.

“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with a promise. — Ephesians 6:2 NIV

For those of us working in hospice, we thank you for entrusting us with caring for your loved ones. We pray that all fathers have a happy and safe Father’s Day.

— Vickie C. Wacaster is a Patient and Hospice Advocate for Aveanna Hospice.