We lost Dad on the morning of December 26th, 2013, my mom at his side. My dad suffered from severe Parkinson’s and dementia, which not only robbed him of his ability to move his body, but also his ability to communicate with us in the final years. It’s been a very, very long time since I was able to talk with him. God I’d love to be able to talk with him once more.
Near the end in that past week, I was able to spend many hours with him just being by his side, talking to him, holding his hand, and telling him that I loved him and that everything would be okay.
And on Thursday morning, with Mom by his side, he passed away peacefully. His long, frustrating struggle with that terrible disease is over.
He was a very playful man, and often the silliest too. He never stopped doing and saying funny things–and taught me to be a grown up child. My dad passed away during the touch of his hospice nurse while she was bathing him. It’s not coincidental, in my mind, that my dad left this Earth the way he came into it, like a child in the care of loving hands.
He dedicated his life to Mom, Susan, and me. He made sure Susan and I grew up loved and made to feel special. Mom and Dad created the most incredible life experiences for all of us. I learned to be a polite boy, calling my parent’s friends Mr. and Mrs. I learned baseball from Dad and for most of my Little League days, my dad was the coach or manager of my team. He took me back packing, and taught me how to enjoy the outdoors without leaving a trace. I learned to love books and reading, and so often, Dad would take us to the book store, usually Tower on Broadway, and let Susan and I each choose one book he would buy for us.
He planned the most extraordinary vacations. But there weren’t beaches or palm trees. No, the trips were better than that. We visited National Parks, historic homes of presidents, Civil and Revolutionary War sites, Washington D.C., Gettysburg, Custer’s Last Stand, Concord and Lexington, Appomattox, the Grand Canyon, the Smithsonian, and more. And he once took the family on a 30-day driving vacation from coast to coast, where we visited the sites above. These were vacations like no parent’s I’ve ever known took their kids on—except for mine.
My dad loved movies, and I loved watching them with him. He loved horror movies, war movies, and Westerns. Science fiction movies were a staple, and I became a lifelong Trekie with Dad.
Dad and I collected stamps. He would take me to the stamp collector store, and we’d pick out U.S. and International stamps, and spend hours at home at the kitchen table, sorting and placing them in our albums. Dad was teaching me about the country and about the world—through the people and things printed on these stamps. You see…he was always teaching.
After retirement, he and Mom were going to travel, and did get to do some. More would have come. Probably mostly in the U.S. Trips to New England to see the fall color, to central Oregon for golf and relaxation, and every little antique store and art gallery in between. But Parkinson’s took hold shortly after Dad retired, altering those plans.
A thought for each of us. My mom and dad never got to live the retirement years for which they’d planned and saved all their lives. They had no regrets, and instead invested in being the very best parents to their son and daughter they could–and believe, me–no one could have asked for better parents. But they did make sacrifices, and they did plan for a wonderful retirement together…which never came due to the Parkinson’s. Each of us needs to know that as important as it is to plan and save for tomorrow, we’ve got live and enjoy today. Because we don’t know how many tomorrow’s we’ll each have. So go take a trip, or buy that frivolous thing you’ve always wanted.
My dad would love it if you did.
Bob Wedge was liberated from Parkinson’s on the morning of December 26th, with his wife of 52 years Peggy by his side.
Bob was an incredibly dedicated father and husband. He was known as a historian, golfer, movie buff, wine enthusiast, art lover, little league coach, bowler, and Clamper. He was also a collector of comics, stamps, books, and was a voracious reader.
Bob worked for the State of California and retired after 42 years as a research analyst with the Youth Authority.
Bob was born in Shafter, CA on August 7th, 1939. He leaves behind wife Peggy, son Jeff married to Karen, and daughter Susan Ross married to Michael.