My First Father’s Day Without Daddy

Today is my first Father’s Day without a father.

Dad, rocking the fauxhawk - he was a trendsetter.

I could sit around and mope, and cry, and be sad and angry and feel helpless. And, in all honesty, there will probably still be some of that going on.

But I can also choose to make a difference.

Mom, Dad & Sis - well before I came along!

I can say with first hand experience that watching a family member struggle with a serious illness, and steadily decline only then to lose them is the most difficult thing a person can go through, and one of the few things in life where nothing makes it completely better. Small things can ease the pain and suffering a bit, but nothing will ever truly make it go away.

Sis, me, and Dad at a Reds game.

One of those not-so-small things that makes it just a bit better is hospice. There are so many misconceptions about hospice that still float around: that is is only for those about to die, that it means giving up, or that you somehow failed your loved one.

None of these are true.

The truth is that hospice gives those with serious illness the dignity and compassion that they deserve. Hospice is about treating the person, rather than the illness, about making them as happy, content, and comfortable as they can possibly be, to ease the burden of their illness for themselves and their families.

Mom, Dad, and I in front of the "Muskie Tank" - long story.

And that’s another truth about hospice…

It is not just for those who are ill – it is also for their families. Caring for loved ones with a serious illness can be all-consuming physically, mentally, and emotionally. My Mom became my Dad’s caretaker during the last few months of his illness, and although she would not have had it any other way, it was the most difficult thing she has ever undertaken.

Hospice of Southwest Ohio was able to provide her with resources to ease her burden – aides to assist in everyday routines, nurses to provide medical care and advice, social workers and chaplains to provide a kind word and a shoulder to cry on at any time of the day or night.

When it became too much for her, or anyone for that matter, to handle, our Hospice team followed my Dad to a nursing home, where volunteers spent time talking, playing games, and reading with him when we couldn’t be there. My family and especially my Dad, formed a bond with these people, and knowing that he had people around that he knew and trusted made him being away from home just a little easier on us all.

Mom & Dad gettin' jiggy with it at my sister's wedding.

Yet another truth about hospice…

…is that it does not end when your loved one’s struggle with disease ends. Our hospice angels have contacted us on a more than weekly basis, just to check in and see if we need anything. They provide bereavement services, counseling sessions, and a kind and compassionate presence as families adjust to life without a loved one.

Hospice provides one of the most difficult and important services in the health care world – a measure of comfort, humanity, and dignity during the most difficult times of life. Without the assistance we received from hospice, losing my Dad would be even harder than it already is. Hospice brings meaning and hope to a hopeless situation.

Dad's catch of the night on the lake, our home away from home.

And that is why, 2 days after we get married, Ian & I will be running the Nationwide Columbus Half Marathon, which happens to be the first National Memorial Hospice Race, in memory of Dad.

But, it doesn’t end there – we will also strive to raise at least $1000 to support hospice care. Half of all money we raise will go to the National Hospice Foundation and the other half will go to a local hospice that we chose – Hospice of Southwest Ohio.

We are so very excited to take this journey together as newlyweds, and to give back to a cause so close to our hearts and minds. Of course, this is where YOU come in…

the fam altogether for Mother's Day 2005...

Please consider donating through our Run to Remember site below!

No donation is too small, especially considering the impact of those dollars on easing the suffering of families across the nation. If you would, please pass on our site address to anyone you think would be willing to help!

My family thanks you all in advance for your help, and to Dad – Happy Father’s Day!


5 thoughts on “My First Father’s Day Without Daddy

  1. Janene,

    I was thinking of you today…this post is beautiful and what a lovely way to honor your dad. I couldn’t give as much as I would like at the moment…but hospice is truly a blessing. My best to you and Ian while you train!


  2. Pingback: 2011 « One Run at a Time

  3. Pingback: Race Recap: Athens Half Marathon! «

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