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brokensoul's avatar

Things to do with dad before he dies?

Asked by brokensoul (147points) September 10th, 2010

I would like some “creative” things to do with my dad in what could be his last weeks with us, he has a terminal illness, right now he is able to talk, walk, do most everything. I have thought of making a recording of him saying I love you for the ring tone on my phone, and for him to write something on my wrist that I can have a tattoo done, I want things to remind me that he will always be with me, and maybe some suggestions for the grandchildren ages 10–18, any help is soooo grateful!!

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23 Answers

grumpyfish's avatar

Having just lost a father in law, I’d avoid the ringtone.

However: recordings of him telling stories would be great to have. Get a digital voice recorder, and just talk to him about normal stuff. You’ll like that stuff later.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Ask him questions about his life and tape an oral history. Find out as much as he knows about his family.

You won’t need a tattoo to remember your dad.

Seek's avatar

I definitely agree with the above posters: Get a video camera, or a digital voice recorder, and just talk to him.

If he likes to write, there are about a million guided journals like this one, that may ask questions you wouldn’t think to ask.

harple's avatar

Are the grandchildren male or female? Girls (sorry, stereotyping here) would probably enjoy helping him work through old photos creating scrapbooks. What interests do the grandchildren have – could your Dad go see them playing sport or in a music concert/rehearsal, then go out for a meal afterwards? I’m trying to think of things that help build good memories for the grandchildren, and that gives your Dad quality time with them.

brokensoul's avatar

First let me say THANK YOU, the tattoo is a sure thing as I have a couple and they are all special to me, I will never forget my dad, I know he loves me, I have no “I wish I would of” at this time, the one thing I love most is when I say “I love you” he always responds with “I love you more” he always has and I REALLY want that recorded for the days when I long to hear it again. I lost my mother in law, so I kind of know the things I will miss. I just want anything and everything that will keep dad more than just a memory, I am sorry I just can’t describe what I mean. But I really do appreciate any help, I don’t want to leave one stone unturned.

john65pennington's avatar

Go to WalMart and find a photo necklace. take a current pix of your dad. cut his face out of the pix and insert into the photo necklace. then, hang the necklace from your cars mirror. this way, your dade will always be watching out over you, when you are in your car or your families car.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I had a very good conversation with my dad before he died.
I like Barnacle Bill’s idea very much. :)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I lost my dad a long time ago. What I wish I could have is a few video tapes of us doing things together. Anything, a conversation, working on a piece of equipment. Just some nice memories of us together.

brokensoul's avatar

The older grandchildren are all girls 13–18, we are a very close family, it’s not as if we are trying to do things we haven’t, we have had a good life with my dad, we are just very fortunate that God gave us a heads up before taking him from us, and I want more than anything to honor this time we have been given.

filmfann's avatar

Two months before my father passed, I spent a week with him in Washington DC, just touristing.
My father wasn’t sick at the time, exactly, and no one thought his time was nearly gone. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.
Take your father to a baseball game. Go to a car show. Do something he loves, and just hang with him.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@brokensoul I would let everyone have conversations with dad and tape them. I never had a chance to tell my dad how much I loved him. He went to bed and that was that. Share as much as all of you can with him and get it on record somehow. How doesn’t matter, just so you have it.

nebule's avatar

This question has brought me to tears…I think this is such a beautiful and brave thing you are doing. I hope you have more time with him than you anticipate. Is there anything that your Dad would like to do specifically with you? I think all the above are lovely suggestions. I would add that it would be really nice if everyone in your family or close friends could write your Dad a letter (or tape) telling him all the wonderful things that they think of him and what they will remember about him for him to read, listen to or watch over the coming weeks. Of course he won’t be able to take them with him but I’ve often thought how it’s such a shame that all the lovely things people say at funerals are said after they’ve passed on. Just an idea.

CMaz's avatar

No tattoo… Too had line a memory to hang onto. Unless your dad is getting it. Hey, good idea.

Just spend time with him. Try to do things that he has never done.

Seek's avatar

(For the record, I think the tattoo is a wonderful idea. “I love you more” in your dad’s handwriting, on your wrist… beautiful. If there’s ever a tattoo you’ll never regret, that’s the one.)

YoBob's avatar

Spend as much time as practical talking to him. I’m not much on the whole tatoo thing, but it’s an interesting idea. The ring tone will disappear with the next technology cycle. What needs to endure is his memory. The idea of recording stories for his grand kids/great-grand kids is wonderful.

The harsh reality is that nothing you can do will even come close to being enough. By all means, record stories, write letters, etc… but at the end of the day the bulk of your time should be spend simply enjoying one another’s company.

Go fishing (or some other relaxing activity you both enjoy) and just hang out together. Trust me, that memory will prove to be more valuable to you than any item he leaves behind.

AmWiser's avatar

Knowing that my Pops knew that I loved him has done more to sustain me than anything else.

boffin's avatar

Talk. . . Let him talk, about his life, loves and fears. You just listen.

brokensoul's avatar

Thanks to you all, I am back home from a wonderful weekend with my dad, we had a typical get together on saturday with family and close friends, telling old stories, several people recorded the day, we let dad set the mood when it came to talking about the cancer, my sister had to walk to her car and “charge her phone” as several of us had to step away at times because its hard. We did talk about how lucky we are, we have nothing to apologize for, we know dad loves us, and he knows we love him. I think he is still in shock about the whole thing still and today we found out the cancer has spread to his brain. The grandkids made him a blanket to take to chemo with him, sunday was grandparents day!
The best moment of the entire weekend, he wrote “I love you, Dad” on my wrist before I left saturday, the man that did the tattoo wouldn’t even let me pay him for it!!! I couldn’t wait to see him sunday and show it to him. I think it was just as special to him as it was to me.
I will be traveling back on the weekends, and I appreciate all of your suggestions and help so much!

harple's avatar

Much love to you and your family @brokensoul

Seek's avatar

Mad props to the tattoo artist. That was awesome of him.

I’m glad it all worked out the way it did, it sounds like you have a beautiful family.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Can’t say it much better than harple, much love as well.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thank you for the update, especially about getting the tattoo. My heart goes out to you, your father and the family.

Ours went through a similar experience when my father had cancer. Here is a story that my sister wrote when we got the news. I’m happy he was able to read it, and it was also used at his memorial service.

To Daddy – I Love You So Much
—by KLLP
I was born to a forest and life was good.
Sunlight shown sweetly through the trees and warmed my soul.
Soft winds whispered gently the secrets of serenity.
In my forest, the trees were tall and strong.
Everywhere there was beauty, goodness and peace.
In the forest, I learned all that was important.
I learned how to appreciate the small things, such as rich earth, the delicate flowers, the burble of a brook, the sunshine on my face.
I learned to be strong like the oaks.
I learned to bend in the wind like the pines.
But most of all, in my forest,
I learned to love the world.
And in this, I was given the gift of great happiness.

But one day, a fire came.
And it took my forest away.
I looked up at the sky that seemed different now that the branches of my trees were gone.
And beyond to the heavens I shouted, “This is wrong!”
“How can you take away something so right, so good, so pure, so clean?”
“How can you take what is so important to me?”

The tears on my face were then tenderly dried by my friend the wind, as it blew softly over me, around me. And it whispered:
“Your forest is not gone.
Its seeds live on forever.
And they are so strong.
And they are everywhere.
The beauty of the forest will be in your memory forever.
The love it gave you will always be in your heart;
Its wisdom in your thinking;
Its strength in your soul;
Its joy in your being.
As long as you give to the world
What your beloved forest gave to you,
It will always be alive.”

And so it will be.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

What a beautiful message. brokensoul, I think you might want to print that off for your father. Or share this thread with him if you think it would be a positive thing at this time. You are in a much better place to decide, so only do it if you think it’s for the best.

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