Good Bye, Dad

The salient event of summer 2010 will forever be the passing of my father, Jules Fillips.   Just the week that Jack and I boarded the AlaskaState Ferry heading north, we had spent five days with Dad at his home – my childhood home – in central New York State.   He was in robust good health, both physical and mental.  He spent several hours a day on lawn and garden work returning to read the paper and engage us in discussions about the state of the world.  It was a time of escalating tragedies –   oil spill, futile national building exercises, and a floundering young President – but still we found him his usual hopeful and forward looking self.   Thanks to my sister Barbara, he  enjoyed peace and company in the community where he had spent all his professional life and active retirement.

This is my favorite photo of Dad.  It’s 2007 in Port Hadlock, Washington, with S/V Aurora is in the background.  Dad visited with my sister Barbara several months after my Mom passed, spent a week with us aboard and sailing the north reaches of Puget Sound and Admiralty Inlet.   I’m so grateful that he could share our love of sailing.    Our boat figures strongly in my grief.  We were there with Selena and Brian when Barb called with word of the stroke that took Mom away the next day.  And Selena and Brian were on board when Barb called on June 3 to tell us about Dad’s stroke and their journey to the hospital.  Selena made my reservations to fly home and saw me off the next day.

On arrival, I found Dad patient, positive and able to speak.    We read the newspaper and looked at photos on his new iPad.  Barb and I visited facilities to make arrangements for his rehab.  But shortly after I headed back to Jack and Sitka, the bleed on his brain started to take hold, affecting his heart and lungs.  Barbara stayed by him round the clock, backed up by a team of family friends, and was holding his hand when he passed peacefully June 20.

She and I worked together to write his obituary and to put together photos and to make the calls to inform friends and to write notes thanking people for standing by our family and to express the graditude that our parents lived into their mid-nineties and were there to show us the way into every advancing adulthood.    Barb was his only relative when dozens and dozens of friends visited later that week.   Now we are planning a reunion of family and friends to celebrate Dad’s life on September 25, 2010.


2 Responses to “Good Bye, Dad”

  1. 1 amandacoolidge July 7, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Carol and Family

    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your father. I always remember, quite fondly the great adventures in Pakistan with both he and your mother. I loved the photo compilation that you put together. Such spirit and truly a liver of life!

    Sending my best to everyone

  2. 2 Erica Dodd August 2, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Dear Carol, I have only just seen this blog – happened to be gazing at Peter’s computer. I’ve spent an hour reading it and it is totally engrossing – what an adventure! But at this part I wonder at your stamina – at your courage and persistence in the midst of such grief. To lose such a father must be devastating. I loved meeting him in Piney Point – and will long remember both him and your mother. The photo is terrific. You come from a wonderful heritage and have a true partner in Jack POne voyage is over. YOurs is still in process. Well done. much love to both – Erica (and Peter, of course – but he is out presently).

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