Sunday, June 17, 2012


Since it is Father's Day today, it seems like a fitting day to pay tribute to an amazing man, who just happens to be my dad!

The past five months have certainly been some of the toughest my family has faced. The constant rock that has held us all together is without a doubt, my dad. I have seen a side of him that I never knew he had, and the greatest display of patience one person could have. He has become the most selfless person I have ever known. He has displayed, through his actions, what true unconditional love is all about and what is means to love someone, "in sickness and in health." My mom has made incredible progress and is truly a miracle. I know there is no way she could be in the position she is now without the constant love, support, and encouragement from my dad.

He has never complained, he has never asked why, and he has never balked at taking care of my mom. She has continued to grow increasingly more independent, but it hasn't always been like that. He rarely left her side the entire time she was in the hospital, logging in more hours than anyone had ever seen in a hospital. The instant he saw her in the ICU, he cried, tears of joy that she was alive, and said to her, "you have never looked more beautiful to me in your entire life" and he meant it. When I saw her eyes light up when he walked in the door and this immediate level of comfort that she suddenly felt, knowing he was there, made my heart swell. She knew that he would help her make the best decisions possible and you could see the complete trust she had in him. He sat there and held her hand for almost 48 hours straight and you would see her looking for him and his hands at all times. She was terrified for her life, literally, as was he, and together they drew so much strength from each other. I have been fortunate enough to have a front row seat for the past few months and I marvel at my dad's strength, love, and dedication. He scours the earth for anything that could potentially help her get better, and leaves no stone unturned.

My dad has been so selfless, and would never tell a soul all he does daily. He has sat through countless hours of therapy, trying to learn with my mom so that he can help her and correct her. He has held every doctor and therapist accountable and made sure they were doing their best to help. He used to get up with her in the middle of the night as often as she needed to and helped her to the bathroom, help her cut her food, he helped her shower every single day and get dressed. He learned to cook, started going to the grocery store, followed her morning and night routine, without complaining. He brushed and dried her hair, tied her shoes, and even learned to draw blood. We are so thankful that my mom is now able to do most of these things herself, however my dad was fully prepared and willing to do them for the rest of her life. He never complained and always reminded her that it was a privilege to take care of her. It was been incredible for me knowing that my mom was being so well taken care of and is so lucky to have my dad as her husband.

I am so incredibly proud of my dad and I feel so honored to be his daughter. I never get tried of hearing people say how lucky I am to have such a great dad, what a great guy he is and seeing how loved he is by so many. I am overwhelmed with emotion at the man is he and the example he is to me and my family. He makes us want to be better and achieve great things. He is kind, generous, loving, honest, and you will never in your life meet a more loyal friend. I have the honor of calling him my best friend and I know I can always count on him. As we are reminded all too often how precious and short life is, I am so grateful to have such a special and close relationship with my dad. I am so blessed that my kids and my husband are able share such a close relationship with him, and how important he is in their lives as well.

There is only one Fred Smith in this world, and how I was lucky enough to be his daughter, I will never know. Dad, I love you! Thank you for being you, thank for for being such a great example to us all, and thank you for taking such good care of mom. We have heard it from the first day in the hospital, Elaine is so lucky to have such a strong support system. You are the foundation, and there is no way she, or any of us, could have gotten through this without you. You have a heart of gold and you will always be my hero. I hope you know that every day I am grateful to have you as my father, and my friend. Happy Father's day!

And a happy day it was! Fred has still not slept and is absolutely exhausted, although he won't complain, because as he says, "its nothing compared to what mom is going through." Fred and Ben wanted to watch the golf today and relax. We went over to the Smith house and walked into a house that smelled like Elaine's house! She had a ham and a brisket in the over, the rolls were rising, and the table was set beautifully. The shocking part: Elaine was home alone and did this on her own! Little Darlin' was being put to the test today! The meal was delicious and Fred and Ben were very happy.

After lunch we left Fred to nap and the rest of us headed to the pool. Elaine didn't want to be dropped off or picked up in the front, she wanted to park and walk with us. She got her own water and picked up Brian all by herself. These are huge improvements and accomplishments for Elaine personally. She started yesterday picking up Brian without someone handing him to her and helping her hold him.

Elaine got hot and decided it was time to get home and rest. Staci offered to let Elaine drive home and Elaine jumped at the chance. Staci's car is big, and Elaine hated driving it before she "got stroke." She jumped in the car, put the car in reverse and off we went. She is gearing up for her driving test in a few weeks. She did amazingly well, and Staci wasn't even nervous. She does need to remember to drive with only one foot, but she did great! It was the first time she has ever driven to her house. It was very exciting!

Fred and Elaine are headed to bed early tonight and ready for another week. Her progress continues to amaze us and she definitely didn't lose her touch in the kitchen. We hope they sleep and that Fred gets some much needed rest

We wish all the Father's a very happy Father's day and hope that you had a wonderful day.

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