Remembering My Dad

373 John E. Wax

May 18, 1945 – April 30, 2015

 

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my Dad’s death. He died at home, under hospice care, after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. I was standing bwith Thoreside him as he drew his final breath.

My Dad never had a whole lot to say. I guess that’s something I inherited from him, I’ve always been more comfortable writing than talking to people in person.

I’ve decided to share the eulogy I wrote for his memorial service here.

Whenever I think about my Dad, the words “insatiable curiosity” come back over and over. He approached everything with a sense of wonder and would often try something new, particularly food.

Anthony Bourdain had nothing on my Dad.

Growing up I remember eating all sorts of unusual things:  opossum, frog legs, sting ray.

If he could catch it and clean it, he’d give cooking it a shot. And occasionally it would even be edible.

The unusual foods weren’t limited to things that came from the lake or ocean. He loved to visit the Asian market and would frequently share with me cans and jars of exotic fruits and vegetables with labels neither of us could read.

Sometimes the strange vegetables came from his own garden. Just a couple years ago he grew some sort of squash that must’ve had a total length close to three feet, but it was all curved around, almost into the shape of a letter O. As I recall, it didn’t taste very good.

My guess is itAnna squash came in one of those surprise bonus packets of seed. He was always eager to see what he would end up with. Maybe it would be the most delicious vegetable on the planet. He approached gardening the same way he did everything else in life: with a sense of optimism and wonder.

That sense of optimism carried him through multiple courses of chemotherapy, radiation treatment and numerous procedures, all the while remaining positive and upbeat. When one of the IMAG0014-1hospice nurses asked him what it was about his illness that worried him the most, he said it was the way it would affect his family and those who loved him.

His attitude continues to inspire me every day and reminds me to make the most of the time we have – tomorrow is not guaranteed.

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