Today marks 13 years since the passing of my father, John Alzo. I created this short tribute video* to celebrate his life and his generous heart.
Time passes and life moves on, but I still look for Dad reading his newspaper at the dining room table, or sitting in the recliner in our family room. Even after all this time, I also clearly remember the significant moments from the days before he died.
I knew for at least two weeks that Dad did not have much time left. Still, it was difficult when I received the phone call from the Hospice that Friday afternoon.
“Lisa, this is Joanie from Lakeside. Your dad is not responding.”
“We tried to wake him up for breakfast and he did not answer us.”
“Do you think I need to be there now?” I asked.
“That’s up to you,” she replied, “But it would probably be a good idea.” “I just wanted you to know.”
I put down the phone.
“We have to go to Lakeside NOW.” I said to my husband. “My dad is not responding.”
“I’m sorry, Lis.” he replied.
I had been up since 6:00 a.m. cooking. It was the day after Thanksgiving and I had just spent the two previous days preparing turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes that I took to the hospice to share with my dad. But that morning, I felt the irrepressible need to cook again. I was looking ahead to Christmas, specifically Christmas Eve. I had this awful feeling that my father would not make it until Christmas so I wanted to prepare a few of his favorite Slovak foods for him to have that weekend.
But it was not meant to be.
When I arrived at Lakeside that afternoon Dad was unconscious. He was breathing but his eyes were closed tight and no matter what I said to him he would not wake up or respond. I wasn’t prepared to see him in this state.
When we left him the night before, which just happened to be Thanksgiving night, he was laughing and joking with us. His final words included, “Put the Pitt game on Lis,” (he loved to watch football and follow his Pittsburgh teams), and “okay honey, I’ll see you.”
That was the last conversation I had with my dad, but by that time we had already said everything that needed to be said. A few months before Dad was hospitalized we had a brief conversation where he thanked me (and my husband) for taking such good care of him. He said that his biggest regret was that he “could not do more for us” and that he wanted to “stay around longer so he could also continue to serve others.”
Less than 72 hours later I held Dad’s hand as he took his final breath and peacefully left this earth.
My father was one of the most generous souls I have ever known. He gave of his time, his talents, and his money to help his family, friends, and neighbors, never expecting anything in return. He was the kind of guy you could have a beer with, tell a joke to, or ask a favor of whenever you needed a ride to the doctor’s office, help with house repairs, or money to get you through a tough time.
I think it is fitting that the 13th anniversary of Dad’s passing away takes place on Giving Tuesday— a day that celebrates giving and philanthropy.
So, today I am finding my own small ways to give of my time, talents, and money to help others and honor my father’s memory and his generosity.
* [I created the tribute video for my father using the online service Animoto. I like their product so much that I recently became an Animoto affiliate, so if you click on the link and subscribe to their service, I will earn a small commission].
Copyright 2018, Lisa A. Alzo, All rights reserved.
[Comments for this post have been disabled]