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Examiner
  • Sandy Turner: A Father’s Day gift without a price tag

  • I started writing this column three times and had to erase and start over again. Father’s Day is a tough one, and I’m wearing myself out feeling sorry for myself and for Dad. It’s all about memories now, as he can no longer make new ones.

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  • I started writing this column three times and had to erase and start over again. Father’s Day is a tough one, and I’m wearing myself out feeling sorry for myself and for Dad. It’s all about memories now, as he can no longer make new ones.
    He doesn’t remember the months we took care of mom together or when I moved in with him after she passed, building a father-daughter relationship we never had or knew could exist.
    I remember how I tried moving my stuff in during the day but it was just too upsetting for him, as he was still continuously asking me where Mom was, and instead of having to tell a spouse their companion had died once, I was having to do it every couple of hours. After he’d go to bed, I’d go home, box up clothes and essentials and put them away before he’d get up in the morning.  
    Riley (who was my dog and part of the package deal, along with my youngest daughter, and a teenager at that time) moved into my childhood home, and although it was a stressful time, we made it work.
    Although Dad moaned and groaned about the dog, he ended up being his best friend and kept him company while I was at work. Apparently the dog was a lot smarter than I had imagined, as he’d claim Riley would lock him out of the house or lose his keys.
    Keeping Dad on track depended solely on a set routine and daily rituals. Lights off at 10 p.m. and lights on at 6 a.m. What could a person want to do after 10 p.m. anyway? Lucky for us he kept a flashlight in every room (just in case of emergencies), which were very useful getting from room to room for “late night” snacks and TV watching.
    I could deal with lights off at 10 but when the lights came on at 6 a.m., especially on the weekends, it was a reminder of my days as a teenager and nobody slept in, any day.
    Between Dad’s continuous rustling of going through the newspaper from front to back several times, trips back and forth to the kitchen, to the bathroom, back to the kitchen, looking for his glasses, looking for his cup, looking for the dog, sleeping wasn’t an option. Besides the fact that every time he passed by my room he’d open the door and inquire why I hadn’t gotten up yet.
    The true struggle was to help Dad keep his independence as long as possible. I tried to keep my promise to Mom to take care of him the best I could and, hopefully I fulfilled it.
    Page 2 of 2 - I will cherish those years, trying to locate Dad’s missing screwdrivers, wallet, shoes and remote control, and then at the end of the day, he’d say good night and a quiet, sincere thank you.
    Happy Father’s Day Dad, my gift to you is our memories and a promise.
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