Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dear Old Dad

On this Father’s Day I am remembering my father, Aaron Primas.  When he would call me he would announce himself by referring to himself as “Dear Old Dad."

As I was driving a very nice rental car last week, I was thinking about my Dad and how we shared an interest in cars.  He would have liked the one I was driving.  I also remembered my last visit with him before he died.

Dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor on Dec 31, 2004.  He and Mom returned to their Florida condo the next week with the plan to have Dad in hospice care.  The prognosis he was given was 6 to 9 months.  Based on my experience as a nurse, I did not think it would be that long.  

Aaron Primas - Feb 15 2005

In February 2005, I traveled to Florida to spend a long weekend with my parents.  Even though Dad couldn’t really speak at that time, he could make his needs known.  He was able to watch TV and knew what was going on around him.  One sunny day, Mom said “why don’t you take him out for a ride in Buttercup?”

Buttercup was a 1988 Rolls Royce Corniche convertible that was Dad’s pride and joy.  The pale yellow color inspired the name of Buttercup.  

Dad and Buttercup

It was too cold to put the top down, but we went for a ride.  I headed out to I-75 so we could cruise for a while.  Once on the highway, Dad kept leaning way over to look at the speedometer.  His vision was affected, so he had to really almost get in front of me to look at the dashboard.  Now you need to understand that no one in our family drives slowly.  We aren’t crazy drivers, but we appreciate the “need for speed.”   After about the third time he leaned over, I asked him “how fast have you driven this car?”  He said “eleven hundred” which I interpreted to mean 110 mph and he agreed.  At the time I was doing 75 mph as that was the speed limit and traffic was heavy.  He started waving his hand forward as if to say “go faster” and so I sped up a bit.  He still didn’t seem happy but at 90 mph I told him the traffic was too heavy to go any faster.  If I could have made it to 100 mph I would have, just for him.  He leaned back and seemed content.  So we cruised down the interstate and then at a convenient interchange, I turned around and headed back.  He didn’t say anything else during the trip but seemed to enjoy himself.  When we returned, Mom asked if we had a nice ride and he nodded and smiled.

The day I left, Mom walked me to the elevator and told me “I will bring him back to Villa Park in May” which was their usual time to return from Florida.  I just nodded as I could not speak, but I knew that I would not see my father again alive.

I drove their family car to the airport, locked it up with the key under the floor mat and made note of the parking space.  I called my sister Amy and let her know where to find the car.  She was flying down the next day and would drive the car back. 

Dad died in hospice care on March 4, 2005.  I still miss him.