This photo, taken February 28, 2013, is the last happy photo I have of Dad celebrating his birthday. He was 81.
By February 28, 2014, the downward spiral was accelerating...Dad was oftentoo confused to understand exactly when his birthday was or what was going on around him.
By February 28, 2015, Dad (and all of us with him) was suffering full-blown Alzheimer's and was incessantly pacing the halls of a hospital psych ward before his admission into full-time nursing home care. Three and a half agonizing months later, Jesus graciously took Dad Home.
Although they are forever seared in my mind, those final two birthdays of Dad's on this side of Heaven were days I'd rather just forget...
So today, on what would have been his 87th birthday, I'm going to remember Dad just as he was in these happy photos. Dad loved nothing on this earth more than being surrounded by his beloved family.
Look at what babies my grandchildren were! The other 7 littles had not even been born yet. My, how Dad would have enjoyed our family gatherings now with so many great-grandkids to pick on and play with!
Thinking of you today, Daddy. I'm not sure what Heaven's like, but since it is a place of perfection and all good things, I bet the heavenly cooks have baked you a perfect spice cake loaded down with penuche icing, with a side of homemade ice cream for your perfect celebration.
Happy Heavenly Birthday, Dad.