How do you celebrate the last Father’s Day?

My Dad Richard McGarrigle

My daughters, Lerie & Alesha and my dad, Mac.

How do you celebrate the last father’s day?  Or, what doctors have proclaimed will be your dad’s last Father’s Day?  That’s the question I found bumping around in my head as I stood searching for the perfect Father’s Day card for my dad. 

Dad is 84 years old and has always been an important part of my life.  My little dad (and I mean that literally…he stands about 5’2 and looks like the Lucky Charm Leprechaun) and I have grown especially close since he moved in with me after my mother passed away in 2001.  Dad was 77 years old then and had been battling prostate cancer for over 7 years. 

3 years ago, dad’s cancer had spread to his colon and lymph nodes.  He wasn’t ready to give up however, as he had a lot more golfing to do. 

2 years ago and after several rounds of chemotherapy, we learned that the cancer had spread to his liver & lung and the doctor recommended we call in hospice with a predicted 4-6 months left.   Dad giggled at that (his famous giggle which is a cross between Popeye and Woody Woodpecker) and asked the doctor if Hospice would be able to caddy for him. So Hospice was out and more chemo was in. 

Four weeks ago, we learned that the cancer is now in his kidney and spine, and the chemo has been stopped.  Dad is markedly weaker and now carries the look of someone who’s not feeling so good.  The Dr. has told dad to “get things in order” as he doesn’t have much time left.  Dad said he really couldn’t die until the Cubs won the pennant but after a slight pause said “But I guess I can’t live forever”.  That’s dad…always trying to keep things light.  Never once has he complained after all the treatments, tests and surgeries. 

Dad has taught us how to live life to the fullest, even when you’re told you’re dying.   Dad has taught us how to love life and not take anything too seriously. 

So how do you say “Happy Father’s Day” for the last time?  I found myself gravitating towards the serious and sentimental cards.  The kind of card I’ve never given dad.  You can’t giggle after a sentimental card and dad loves to giggle.  So I put the sentimental card back, the card that said all the things I felt in my heart…the card that, if you read between the lines, said “good-bye”. 

I’m not ready to say “good-bye” to dad.  I’m not ready to stop hearing his giggle.  I’m not ready to see his empty chair.

None of us are guaranteed “tomorrow” and God laughed when the doctors gave dad 4-6 months 2 years ago, right?  So, I finally selected a card for dad and we’ll celebrate this Father’s Day the way we have celebrated every Father’s Day… with funny cards, love and, of course… giggles. 

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  I love you.


  1. Jay Thompson says:

    What a wonderful and moving tribute to your “little Dad” Amy.

    This post was the perfect “card”.

  2. Thanks, Jay!
    PS…loved your blogging class last week!

  3. KeeKee says:

    What a fantastic tribute to Uncle Mac…… there are giggles on my lips but tears in my eyes. We love you all and give Uncle Mac a hug and kiss from me.

  4. Gail Schmidt says:

    What a wonderful way to honor your dad! The memories you have and are still creating, will let him live forever in your hearts…Thanks for sharing…

  5. Very sweet tribute, Ames… You’re dad really is something special. What a wonderful blessing he has been for you and you for him. What a wonderful role model he is for your family and those of us who know him. I’m sure you will cherish each other eternally. What a special tribute to carry forever! My love to you all and keep the giggles going:)

  6. Sherry DeRossi says:

    Oh Amy, what beautiful words. Your head is in the right place, while I’m sure your heart is breaking. His giggle is certainly his signature mark and always makes everyone else giggle as well. When I met him over 35 years ago, he made me so feel welcome What a blessing to have him with you and share these special years together.
    Love you girl and continued thoughts and prayers are with you.

  7. Thanks for all your kind words. I love you guys!

  8. What a wonderful post about your father! I lost my mother last June 2007 to ovarian cancer, there’s not a day that goes by where you miss them and cherish the time you have. Thank God I still have my father as the family told him, “you can’t go anywhere just yet!”
    What a tribute, your father is lucky to have you and your lucky to have such a fun loving man!

    Cheron Lange

  9. Thanks so much, Cheron. My heart goes out to you with the loss of your mom, too. God bless.

  10. Arlene Skipper says:

    This is a beautiful tribute to Mac. I haven’t seen him for years, but he still looks just like I remember…. maybe a few more grey hairs:-) Your girls are beautiful and I know he has enjoyed them. Your family continues to be in my prayers during these difficult days,

  11. Thanks so much Arlene. Your prayers mean everything. God Bless!


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