It was in September of 2006 that I received the phone call from my Mother. My Dad was in the hospital, and had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. He had been treated for the prior 2 months thinking that it was pneumonia. I immediately made my way to the hospital to see both Mom and Dad. It was a sad time, but hope was still there that perhaps his life would be extended for a while.
As I spoke with the many doctors in the beginning, there was the belief that they could remove the one bad lung. After more tests and drawing fluid from his spine, it was determined that it was terminal. Dad went home, and had decided that he was going to take chemo treatments. But Dad knew that there was to be no cure without intervention from The Lord.
When he began the chemo he would feel very good immediately after them for a few hours. He would call me up and we would go have breakfast together. After the surprising news that his days on this earth were quickly fading, he was pleasant to be around again. We would talk about many things. Since I’m the oldest child, we had a tremendous number of memories. I can still remember some things from when I was 2 years old. It was good talk.
Over the next couple of months he starting declining quickly. No more going out for breakfast. I went to their home and would sit in the sunroom and we would just talk. Our talks became more serious. He began to discuss plans for my Mom after he passed away. He began to tell me what to sell and things of that nature.
My dad was a flashy guy. He always wore gold jewelry. I guess that’s where I get some of my taste. I too like gold. I’m the only person I’ve ever known that received a gold and diamond ring for his high school graduation gift. It was a surprise to me because I had never wanted one. I still have that ring today but don’t wear it real often. I knew that Dad must be getting close to dying when one morning he brought out all of his jewelry. He was going to divide up, between my brothers and I, his personal stuff that he wanted us to have. To be honest, none of us boys wore much jewelry. I have worn a Presidential Rolex for 30 years, and a gold bracelet on the other arm. Besides that I didn’t think I would wear anything else.
One of my brothers took Dad’s stainless steel Rolex, and another piece or two. The youngest brother really didn’t want any jewelry, but I think he took some rings as well. My Dad always wore an 18 carat heavy gold necklace. He had taken a one ounce raw gold nugget and had it formed into a design and placed some small stones on it. It was a fob on the chain. Dad always wore the necklace where it was showing. My brothers and I always wondered how he could do that. All three of us boys shied away from the necklace, but not one of us said that we didn’t want it. Dad said “Levi I believe you are the one to have this.” I told him thank you and I took it. I also received his 3 piece silver western belt buckle that he got when he was 12. I loved it and I wear this on my black western belt all the time now. I have one just about like it that I received when I was 12 on my brown western belt.
At that time I wasn’t real proud of the necklace. I took it home and placed it in my jewelry box. In the next couple of weeks Dad got worse. A week before he died he said to me “Son, I don’t want you leaving here until I’m gone.” I told him that I wouldn’t leave, and I stayed there at his house fulltime for the next 6 days. Our days were full of very private talk that would only occur at a time like this. It was a precious time for us both. Dad passed away 2 days before Christmas in 2006.
I still miss my Dad. There are things that I would love to tell him. I would love to share things with him about my life, and that of the family that he loved so much. He wasn’t a perfect Dad, but who is? I understood him about as well as he understood himself.
I do need to tell you about the gold necklace. Since he died, there has not been a day that I have not worn it. I don’t wear it out showing like he did, but concealed under my shirt is my Dad’s gold necklace and fob. I expect to wear it for the rest of my life, and then to pass it off to one of my sons. Who by the way, don’t wear any jewelry. We”ll see how long the necklace will be worn. But every morning when I put my necklace on I think of my Dad. Thank you Dad for this little piece of you, that reminds me of your face each morning.
See ya later Dad! I’m sure you are enjoying Heaven.