In early 2011 my dad was diagnosed with cancer. The big C.... I don't need to say anything about that because we all know someone who has fought this fight.
Dad and the doctors were doing all they could do. The rest of the family did what we could to make things easier. We also prayed a lot for healing.
Dad had talked about wanting to see the changes of Norfolk, VA over the 50 years he had last been stationed there in the Navy. For most of my life, I have been a procrastinator. This illness made me take action. I set up a road trip for the two of us from our home in Missouri to Norfolk and back. In October 2011, we set off on an adventure.
On our stop in Nags Head, NC I got dad to dip his toes into the ocean. As the sun set and the temperatures dropped we sat watching a hang glider soaring up and down the beach. Dad and I laughed and talked until the sun went down before setting off to the next destination.
That would be the last time dad got to set foot in the ocean. In March 2012 he passed away. The pain of loss was severe at first but has lessened with time. I think it would have been worse had we not taken that trip together. The ten plus days we spent in the car exploring the country let me see my dad in a new light. For the first time, I really got to appreciate my dad as an adult who had a life of his own before I came along.
I wish you all take the time to learn about your folks as more than mom and dad. You'll see, like me, that they are just people who lived, loved, made mistakes, did stupid things, took risks and were cool in their own right. It adds a dimension to the relationship that wasn't there before. Do it sooner rather than later because we never know what tomorrow will bring.