In Honor Of My Beautiful Father

It is now 5 years ago today,  that my father went to Heaven…  I am sharing a blog post I wrote 3 years ago,  because his last gift to me before leaving, continues to give me so much love and joy.
Thank you Dad… I love you!
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In Honor Of My Beautiful Father BY DENISE WINTERS, ON JULY 29TH, 2011
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2 years ago today, I kissed my father goodbye for the last time. I had tears in my eyes earlier, when Madison walked up to me out of nowhere, hugged me and kissed me. I want to share this story about my father, and my kittens. And how so much pain, would unknowingly bring so much love!

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Feb 20th, 2009 my father called me to tell me he had stage 4 bone cancer and the doctors gave him a few months to live. I remember that call like it was 5 minutes ago. When we hung up, I cried for hours.

Then for some unknown reason, I went on the internet, and really wanted to look at kittens pictures. I wasn’t thinking about getting a cat, I never had cats, but my dad loved them, and somehow that’s what I was doing at 2am on the saddest night of my life. I went to Petfinder, adoptions, and starting browsing. I couldn’t think of any other place to see kittens. Their beautiful little faces somehow eased the pain of what was happening. First I saw “Chocolate”.. I fell in love with his beautiful little face…

lex1st

Lexington Winters

but I wasn’t there to adopt kittens.. so I kept going through the photos… 5 photos down I saw “orphan”, she had the same look in her beautiful little face, as I was feeling!

Madison Winters

Madison Winters

little “Orphan” was found when she was 2 weeks old.. her mom was hit by a car, made it back to her babies and died. Her siblings also died. My heart screamed out to adopt her! I was going to be an “orphan” soon… I had to take care of her. I then went back up to “chocolate” and they were being fostered in the same place! These 2 little kittens told me, we were all meant to be together. I didn’t know anything about cats, or fostering, or how to adopt them, or even what to ask, so I wrote and asked if they knew each other… Jane wrote back and told me, they not only knew each other, they were madly in love! I told her I wanted to adopt them both, and she sent me more photos. When he first saw her, it was love at first sight.

love at first sight

love at first sight

And she felt the same way about him!

She Loves Him

She Loves Him

His mom fed her, and after seeing this photo, and I wanted to adopt all 3 of them, but the mom had already been adopted.

Will You Adopt Us?

Will You Adopt Us?

The next day I called my father to tell him I was adopting 2 kittens. He wasn’t the least bit surprised. We never spoke about me adopting kittens, but yet, it was as if he planned it. I could see and feel his smile over the phone. He seemed somehow relieved. My dad was a Marine… the best man I’d ever known with a heart of gold. He knew how to do everything, and taught me how to do some pretty amazing things . I renovated my apt with my own hands. I could fix almost anything broken. If anyone needed help, he was the first person there. If he saw a stranger stuck on the road, he pulled over to help.

That’s what you’re supposed to do, is all he would say. Here he is helping a local merchant prepare for a hurricane.

dad-helping-Mr-Ward Now, he would teach me one last thing about life, love and parenting, since I didn’t have children. We didn’t need to talk about the “cancer”, and he didn’t want to.. we spoke about the kittens, the funny things they were doing every day, how much I was learning from them… and exchanged photos by email. He was signing cards to me “meow meow” now.. hahahaha so not what I was ever expecting from my “Marine” dad! easter-card-400x480

I was still learning things about him, and learning from him. On July 21st, he called and said, well Honey, if you want to see me again, you better get here fast, they are getting ready to take me out!! WHAT???? where are they taking you, I asked, and he replied, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you better go back to school! Yes… that was my father…. he didn’t sugarcoat anything, Everything was fine, then it wasn’t. He didn’t think it was important to talk about what could happen… until it was happening. I called a great friend and asked if he could come over and stay with my kittens.. I had to get

to Bonifay, Florida as fast as humanly possible.
My sister, her son and daughter drove down the day before I flew in. We all had the best time those last days… we laughed so much, hugged so much, and there was no doubt about how much we loved each other. David, the hospice nurse told me my dad was ready to go, but was holding on till after I left. His beautiful wife Mary, who he shared so much life and love with. and his identical twin brother Midge were with him, and he was in his own house. I kissed him goodbye, told him how much I loved him, and would always be grateful he was my father, and left. I was just thinking about how he set it all up, like he always did. After living with my kittens for over 2 years, I believe he had “something” to do with me going online that night. I don’t know how, but I always said “they found me”, and have loved them more than I could ever have imagined. I didn’t want to call her “orphan” so I changed their names. I renamed her Madison (for the M on her forehead) and he is Lexington, and when I say their full name with “Winters” at the end of it, I hear my dad saying “Denise Winters” , and I laugh out loud. Earlier today, I changed my facebook photo to the one below with my dad, and then saw the photo of Madison and Lexington when they first came to live with me… and for the first time… I noticed the similarity in these photos… I am sure my dad knew exactly what he was doing! I love you dad!

meanddadhugmad-lex-1st-400x268

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One Comment

  1. Tracee Loran July 31, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    Denise this was such a beautiful tribute to your Dad. Loved it!

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