Saturday, April 18, 2009

On Becoming an Orphan

Some things just have to be said. I was trying to avoid posting sad news on the blog, but it seems I can't get back to talking about knitting until I honor "my old guy".

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dfw/obituary.aspx?n=david-james-andrews&pid=125828660
My father passed away last week, just after the stroke of midnight on his 90th birthday. During the last year, when he said he might not be around much longer, I always replied that he had to make his 90th because I was throwing a party. Then after the cake, we would discuss 91. Well, he made it. It was quite a shock to me to lose him now, although I suppose at 90, one shouldn't be surprised at anything. But what seemed to be a mild pneumonia turned out to be something much more serious. He was surrounded by those he loved, a good end to a good life.
My father LOVED his family, they were very close. Eight boys and one girl. The two youngest are missing from this photo taken when my father was 4, second from the right.
His mother saw him off to war with the Air Force in 1942.
Here he is in the fifties with his brother Dana and Greer Garson.

The last few years, there were only two of the tribe left, my father and his youngest brother Steve. Now there is only Steve. Although Steve couldn't travel from California to be with his brother that last week, he called every day and the two reminisced with laughter and tears.
There was an honor guard to send off this veteran of two wars.
My father certainly wasn't perfect, but he never told a lie and he never intentionally hurt anyone (although that bit about not telling even a white lie sometimes had that effect). He was an idealist. He remembered every date of everything ever. We shared a love of words and language and history and art and classical music. We had crossword puzzle challenges; even the last few months when he had lost much of that incredible memory, we would do the puzzles together. When I quit piano for ballet, he was so furious that he sat down with my books and taught himself to play, only Chopin for the first 25 years until he retired and finally began lessons. Perhaps three days before he died, my neice and I were sitting with him near midnight. Suddenly he began joking and teasing us and the nurse and it was my father of the old days, sharp and lucid and funny. After half an hour of this amazing gift, he fell asleep and the next day it was gone, but what a lovely memory he gave us.
My friend José Feghali played a Chopin nocturne at his service, so beautiful it brought everyone to tears. I miss him.

11 comments:

Frogdancer said...

He sounds like he was very ordered and stubborn. It figures that he went on his birthday. The dates will be so symmetrical...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Bea said...

Oh Angela, I'm so so sorry to hear this. He sounds like he was a good man.

Jenn said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. Hugs.

Micki said...

What a lovely tribute. Hugs to you.

Wendy said...

Sorry to read about the loss of your father. Sounds like he had a good life and a loving daughter.

Ruby Girl said...

You have some wonderful memories by the sounds of things. Always keep them close to you.

Holly said...

And a better comment on his life could not be made: he raised you.

cockeyed said...

So sorry for you lose. I sounds like he was a wonderful man. You have my prayers...

Stilaholic Nartian knits said...

Thank you for sharing your tribute to your father. I'm sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is difficult no matter how long or short a time we have them.

tapmouse said...

I'm glad you posted this. So nice to read your tribute to your dad.

Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said...

Lovely tribute, dear one. A good life well lived, and of course he lives on in you and all you are.

Yes of course you miss him. But he's still there, isn't he? Is there a day you haven't thought of him? Well then.

Love to you, and my thanks to him for raising such a daughter to be my dear friend.