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My Father's Passing

Posted on 2009.05.15 at 04:07

Yesterday, May 13th, after a long battle with terminal brain cancer, my father, Bob Crowther, Sr., passed away. It’s so hard for me to accept that my dad is gone, that I’ll never see him holding my mom, playing with his dogs, or hunkered over a book with a purring cat on his lap, picking tomatoes and squash from his garden, or hug him again.

The last few months, especially the last couple weeks, were almost unbearable, but I'm feeling some peace knowing his suffering is over.  Still, I miss him terribly--I love him so much.  He believed in me even when I lost faith in myself. Before he died, he told me, “Never give up on your writing. You’ll only be a failure in my eyes if you give up on your dream.” Just writing those words--the tears come again.

Our family meant more to him than life itself, and my mother was always his “Princess.” Even after 43 year of marriage, I could still drive up to their house in Alpine and find him walking with my mother through the wildflowers and red-barked Manzanita, holding hands like newlyweds. If it wasn't for him, I'd never have appreciated that the natural world is a web of miracles. He loved nature, had a degree in marine biology, and was a class away from completing a second in botany. He survived the horrors of the Vietnam war, and returned to protest it, and was a man of peace with a passion for books from science texts to thrillers.

I’ve spent the last two days with my family, and the sadness is balmed by the relief that my dad has been released.  My companion, D., has been there for me, offering love and comfort, and has lost a friend and the closest thing to a father he ever knew.  I struggle to comfort my sister, who is near inconsolable, and shared a closeness with my dad second only to my mom’s. He was my sister's best friend, her hero, her Dad.  My sister, her partner, Cheryl, and I were rotating helping care for him at home, and doing what we could to help my mom and support her, but the great and terrible bulk of the burden fell on my mother's shoulders.  Morning and night, day after day, she loved and cared for him, barely sleeping and allowing him to pass from this world with dignity.

My dad's greatest fear was that he would lose his mind, and second that he would not be able to control his body.  Near the end, both those horrors became real for him, but he and my mother faced them with incredible courage.  It was like watching a sand castle erode as the tide came in, slowly, relentlessly, until the core dissolved.   Nothing could be more terrible. But he was never alone; was able to be at home, with his Princess, children, and the animals that he loved so much.

When he passed, my mom was sitting at his side, reading him the 23rd Psalm from her worn, heavily underlined Bible. My mother lost the love of her life, but she's at peace now too, and has this calmness and strength that can only be called heroic.  Now my dad is beyond fear, and I believe his soul is happy, near my mom, because for him, that is all the heaven he needs.


Comments:


coppervale
coppervale at 2009-05-15 16:31 (UTC) (Link)
You have a wonderful family, brother. And you all seemed to know what things were the most important.

I'll keep you in thoughts and prayers.

James
rjcrowtherjr
rjcrowtherjr at 2009-05-31 12:12 (UTC) (Link)
James,
Thank you to you and Cindy for your friendship, kindness and prayers. I've been hiding for a bit, but they have given me and my family much comfort. Now that the worst is past, I'm moving forward and getting back to my writing. The movement of time now feels less like a breeze than a gale, and I want that wind to fill my sails.

Take care, my friend,
Rob
coppervale
coppervale at 2009-05-15 17:38 (UTC) (Link)
Rob,

What a sweet tribute to an obviously great man! You and your family will be in our prayers. He is not gone. He's just waiting now for each of you when it's your turn to return home to God.

Cindy


Edited at 2009-05-15 05:39 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) at 2009-05-17 20:06 (UTC) (Link)
You're in my thoughts, Rob.
justbkwyrm at 2009-05-25 17:42 (UTC) (Link)

Your post reminded me of this quote...

"The flowers, the gorgeous, mystic multicolored flowers are not the flowers of life, but people, yes people are the true flowers of life; and it has been a most precious pleasure to have temporarily strolled in your garden"
- Lord Buckley

It sounds like your dad saw the whole world as a garden, and was happy to have strolled it. It is no wonder he is proud of you, having read your writings as I have. Hell, I am proud of you. I am glad you and your family and he had each other.

Love,

Kristin
rjcrowtherjr
rjcrowtherjr at 2009-05-31 12:16 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Your post reminded me of this quote...

Kristin,

That quote from Lord Buckley is so beautiful and appropriate. I teared up when I read it, but not out of sadness; rather, because it warmed my heart with its truth. Thank you, my beautiful friend.

Love, Rob
(Anonymous) at 2009-06-06 06:04 (UTC) (Link)

your father's passing

Rob, I was so sorry and so moved to read about your father's passing. But I'm equally happy to hear that you have an agent and are moving forward in your calling. As I am so shall you be. HWA?

XO,
Nancy
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