Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Father: Gary Gilpatrick, Rest in Peace

I said goodbye to my biological father last Wednesday morning as I sat next to him and watched him take his last breath. It was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done.

My relationship with my father was emotionally distant, to say the least. I only met him when I was 18 as my mother sheltered me from him for my entire youth. In the last 17 years, I have made an effort to form a bond with him and let him get close to my children. My favorite memory of him is when he sat with Annika in his lap and read her books.
It was such a tender moment with him, one that I had never experienced myself. I have not yet decided if the distant relationship is making this easier or harder with the 'what-ifs' and regrets.

My father led a life with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other... which is ultimately what killed him. It is what it is and it is what seemed to make him happy.

My father had an intriguing stint in the Air Force which took him from Spain to Paris He was a very handsome airman and his years in the military seem to be portrayed in his photos as his happiest.

He treasured his time with his 3 daughters and six grandchildren... but that time was just too short.

Please, please do not procrastinate. Do not say, "I will call/go see/ write to... mom/dad/sister/auntie/grampy... tomorrow/next week/ next month..."

I know that your dishes/lawn/hair/computer... really need tending to... But the moments you put off spending with the ones you love can never be relived. We all have limited time on this earth. And, in the end, all that really matters are the ones that you love. Be that friends or family or lovers, you need to make time for them. Time every day.

I had taken this weekend off to go celebrate an early Father's Day with my father (which would have been the first time I has seen him in months) and now I know it is too late. I hope he forgives me and is at peace wherever he may be.


  1. of course, there are no words.

    But I will tell you that so many of my friends have lost their fathers in the past three years that I have made an effort to mend the relationship with mine. And it is the best thing I have ever done.
    Thank you for those words of advice. If one person takes note, all you have experienced with your birth father has changed the way the world spins.

  2. Michelle, I am so sorry to hear this. You are in my thoughts.

  3. Lovely reminder. Sending good thoughts to you.

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  5. Lovely tribute. Gently sharing your heart with us...so moving. I leave thursday to spend four days with my dad ~ will carry your thoughts with me.

  6. No mateer the relationship, the loss of a parent is always so hard. I hope you are doing well and don't what if yourself too much. You can't change the past, only relish the memory of it.