January the fifth of this year my father left his Parkinson’s ravaged body behind and joined his family, his friends , his Lord and his dog in heaven. I am so happy for him yet I miss him terribly.
I have been his primary caregiver for the last six years. Seven days a week. Twenty-four hours a day. Three hundred sixty five days a year. My life revolved around his needs and I was proud to have the opportunity to care for this wonderful man.
He was the kind of father I wish I had been to my son and he was the kind of son I wish I had been to my parents. He was a man of his word and his strength of character were unimpeachable. He carried himself with military bearing yet he was approachable and gentle. He was the essence of my existence for the last six years.
If he told you the sun would not rise in the morning you had better carry a flashlight the next day. When we were children he would tell us that one day he would own a house in the mountains. He was born in upstate New York and yearned for that environment.He bought a house in the north Georgia mountains and we still own it.
Many times walking around the lake nestled in the pines on top of the mountain Daddy would marvel at the pair of hawks that hunted that area.Even more so as the Parkinson’s progressed. He would watch them and smile and tell me that if he could choose to be any animal it would be a hawk.They were proud. They mated for life. They were good parents. And most importantly for him they were agile and free.
I am telling you this so you will understand what is following. The day after my father died a hawk flew in to my sisters screened porch. He didn’t fly in the door as one would expect. He flew through the screen itself! It had to have taken a tremendous amount of force to accomplish this. It was perfectly content to sit on the rocking chair as if it were just visiting.
It did not panic and when my sister opened the door so it could fly out it had no interest in leaving. Finally my sister garnered the nerve to gently pick this magnificent creature up with her hands. She carried it outside and placed it in the back of the truck where it could fly away when it got ready. Instead of flying away the hawk perched on the roof of the car as if it were wanting to speak.
I believe this was my fathers way of telling us he is alright. My sisters life revolves around animals. She is founder and president of a very active animal rescue group. It is only natural that Daddy would pick her to show himself to in the form of this bird. Do I think he remains in the form of a hawk? Of course not. But from this day forward when I look to the sky and see one of those majestic creatures floating effortlessly on the breeze I will think of my father.
Look to the sky son
tell me what you see
A bird in flight daddy
sailing on the breeze
My eyes are failing son
describe him to me
His tail is on fire daddy
and he is proud and free
Sit with me son and let us talk
When you think I am gone
do not sit and grieve
for I will be like the hawk
sailing on the breeze