My parents taught my brother and me our family values by the way they have lived their lives. My dad worked hard at his job providing for our family and my mom worked hard at home providing for our family. They managed their time with us really well. My dad worked hard all week, but always had the weekends off. That was family time. We would ride our bikes, go swimming, skating, sledding and all sorts of outside activities. We were blessed with private piano, flute, and trumpet classes. I twirled the baton and my brother became an Eagle Scout. We were very, very lucky children. Our meals were made at home by my mom and conversations revolved around our activities and our friends. Almost every Sunday we would entertain family and friends, or else we would go visit them. That circle of friends inspires me today to keep in contact with those who are important to me. Those friendships were very important to us at that time so we really focused on those that we cared about. Every year we had a summer vacation. We traveled to Canada, Mexico, and every state in the U.S.A. except for Hawaii and Alaska. We always traveled by car or train so we could experience how beautiful our country is.
As my brother and I have gotten older I know we both look back fondly on all the times my parents took the time to spend with us every day. Sometimes we wanted to spend more time with our friends. However, we always had our family time. We have learned to give each other space when we need it and to be there when we need that.
On December 18th my dad passed away. My mom, brother and I were all there. He is at peace now. That circle of friends I spoke of earlier embraced us and celebrated his life with us. Sometimes people mention that it is the smallest of gestures that touch us the most. After my dads funeral mass I was approached by a gentleman. He introduced himself as my dads bus driver. My dad had a form of Parkinson's disease. Until 2 years ago, he rode the bus downtown Rochester, MN to walk in the skyway to the library every Monay-Friday. As his disease advanced he was unable to do it as frequently, but he kept going as often as he could. I was so touched as I talked to the bus driver and his grandson that they would take time out of their busy lives to come and share the day with us. What a great example that bus driver was setting for his 13 year old grandson who I'm sure could think of more exciting ways to spend his first day of winter break. The grandson said it was important to his grandpa to be with us, so he was with us too. Wow! Another example of family values.
My dad received the best care in the world in Rochester through the Mayo system. The doctors, nurses, physical therapists and all who cared for him through the years are to be commended for their professionalism. The commitment they show on a daily basis is to me also a sign of family values because they treated my dad like part of their family. The funeral mass was held at St. Pius X where Father Nelson treated us with such compassion. The funeral arrangements were made by Macken Funeral Home, who have been in business for 100 years. Again, strong family values.
I appreciate all of the family members and friends who have reached out to us the past several months. I have been so comforted by their prayers of strength.
Please take a moment today to reach out to those who have shared their family values with you. It only takes a moment to go swimming, prepare and eat a meal, or travel with a loved one. I hope you know you will touch their lives forever.