COTE DE TEXAS: Rest in Peace Dad

Rest in Peace Dad


My father, Ralph David Cohen, passed away Tuesday, succumbing to Covid-19.  He went peacefully, never complained, and he was in no pain.  The last full sentence he said was, "please call my wife for me."   We had not told Dad that Betty Rae was gone.  It seemed too much to bear.  He and Betty Rae were such a happy couple who did everything together.  They enjoyed a long retirement, spending summers and winters in their condo at La Costa Spa in Carlsbad, California.   Years before that were spent at the beach in their condo in South Padre Island. 

My father was born in Chicago, during the great depression.  He went to college and with no money to join a fraternity he worked there instead, serving meals to the brothers.   He joined the Navy Air Corp and met my mother - the natural comedienne Sonia.  After a few childless years they adopted my older brother and me!  Over the years he forgot I was adopted and once I asked him about it and he repeated the same story I was told as a child.  I knew that fantastical story wasn't true but let it go.  You didn't pick your "perfect baby" out of a line of bassinets at Edna Gladney. 

My parents were very happy and my mother, a lively red head, kept my father on his toes.  It was a house filled with much laughter and love.  When she died, my father was incredibly sad and depressed.  He missed her fabulous cooking and the long, physical jokes she excelled at.  When his partner offered to introduce him to a widow, he leapt at a chance at happiness.  I was thrilled to gain two sisters.  The elegant, chic Betty Rae was a blessing for him.  She made him happy and fulfilled and together they built a second act in life.   They were constantly in motion.  With a large circle of friends, they frequently were entertained at dinners for which they reciprocated with a large dinner party every few years.  Milestone birthdays called for more dinner parties at fancy restaurants. 

When not out eating, they were at plays, the Symphony, and at movies.   Up until the Covid, he and Betty Rae spent every Saturday night out at the movies.   They ate out dinner each night, mostly going to the same faithful restaurants they loved so much.  All holidays and birthdays were spent with family. 

My father was an early health nut, he exercised at Presidents, the first health club for men in Houston.  He was a workaholic and when he retired, he turned his attentions to the stock market.  He bought a few shares of Apple Stock when it was first available, something he was quite proud of.  LOL   He was a huge admirer of Steve Jobs and couldn't stand it that I was a PC user.  He bought me an Apple computer to change my ways, but I could never get used to it.  He loved technology and bought me my first VCR.   Decades ago, he gifted me with a color printer!   And decades before that, I was given the first Barbie Doll on my block.   When I ruined her blonde pony tail, he bought me a new head - the red hair short bubble, probably attracted to the red hair like my mother! 

I admired my father and always sought out his advice of which he was more than willing to give. He loved to lecture me and later Elisabeth and everyone else in the family from grandkids to nieces and nephews.  He adored Ben and I always joked he loved Ben more than me.   He loved to talk.   When he was 92, a UTI caused brain damage and he was mostly mute afterwards, although if you tried, you could understand a few sentences here and there.   He was left extremely frustrated that he could no longer express himself.   He worked hard at rehab for two years trying to get his speech back, but it never returned to normal.  He was strong and a fighter to the end.   When he turned 90 he said he was still on this earth not because of anything he had done, but just for sheer luck.  My dad was one of a kind.   I will miss you Dad.

His and Betty Rae’s obituaries can be found here https://www.jewishfuneralsusa.com/   and please read more about my dad at a story I wrote on his 90th birthday https://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-family-birthday.html 

Houston is under attack from Covid.  I caught it from visiting with my father.  My sister and brother in law are now recovering from it.   Please be careful, wear a mask, and get the vaccine as soon as you can.  In light of this, I wish a healthy and happy New Years for you all.




104 comments :

  1. Joni, my deepest sympathy, for your losses. I can't imagine the pain you must be going through to lose both family members so close to one another. I hope that as time moves on, your memories of your parents will bring a smile to your face instead of tears.Please take care of yourself, I wish you a speedy recovery.

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  2. Oh, Joni - really there are no words. I am just so very, very sorry :( Your father sounds like the one everyone wishes they had. Wishing you and your extended family full recoveries from this terrible virus...

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  3. Joni. So very sorry for your loss. Praying for a full recovery for you and your family. Hugs

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  4. So very sorry Joni. Hope you and your family recover quickly.

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  5. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. I lost both my parents recently and so feel your pain. What a s*$! show 2020 has been. I pray that you fully recover quickly and find much joy in 2021!

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  6. I loved reading of your dad's life, Joni, and his description of picking out his "perfect baby" from the line of bassinets made my vision go a little blurry. What a lovely man, and a long life well lived. I am so very sorry for your losses; may their memories be a blessing.

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  7. I am so sorry for your loss. What a loving tribute to a great man - on of the greatest generation.

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  8. So sorry for your terrible loss Joni. I can’t imagine...

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  9. I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my warmest condolences.

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  10. Sending you my deepest sympathy Joni. I’m so sorry for the loss of Betty Rae and your dad.

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  11. the love you shared with your Father and Mother comes across in what you have written about them I am so sorry and I hope you are recovering

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  12. This is just heartbreaking. It is very hard to lose your parents, especially both so close together. It sounds like he led a full and happy life, but it really didn't need to end right now. Such a disaster this year has been. You have my deepest sympathy.

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  13. Your family will treasure this lovely tribute, chock-full of the sort of detail that makes me feel the loss, too. I am so very, very sorry.

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  14. Dear Joni, I am so very sorry. Following you for many years, I've seen the family pictures you have posted. What a beautiful family you have. So much love. My heart goes out to you and your family.

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  15. This is just heartbreaking. It is very hard to lose your parents, especially both so close together. It sounds like he led a full and happy life, but it really didn't need to end right now. Such a disaster this year has been. You have my deepest sympathy.

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  16. So very sorry about your dad!!

    Sending hopes for love and peace along to you and your whole family during this time!!
    Please stay as safe and healthy as you all can - and of course wishes for a speedy recovery too!!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  17. my sincerest condolences....my heart breaks for you.

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  18. Thank you for sharing so much of you. I always open your emails and look forward to reading. I am so sorry for your loss. You have such wonderful memories and family. May the new year bring many blessings and health.
    Cindy

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  19. I am so very sorry for your incredible loss. I will pray for comfort for you. Diana

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  20. So very sorry for your loss Joni. What a lovely tribute to your dad. My sincere condolences.

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  21. So very sorry for your loss. Losing loved ones is so very hard to let go, but remembering the good times warms the heart!

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  22. Oh my gosh how hard this must be for you. I am so sorry, and will keep you all in my thoughts.

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  23. Hello Joni, How awful to lose both father and (step) mother so close together. You have mt deepest sympathy. I was inspired reading about both their lives through your tribute and also the ones you linked to.
    Sincerely, Jim.

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  24. When I see you in my in box-I open you first...thank you for sharing all parts of your life. You have a beautiful way with words on all subjects, even the difficult one.

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  25. Joni, I am so sorry for your terrible loss and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Linnie

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  26. My condolences Joni. Such a sweet tribute to your Dad.

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  27. Dear Joni,

    I am so sorry for your loss! You are in my thoughts. May your father rest in peace!
    Greet

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  28. Joni, although I am sorry for your loss, this was beautiful and heartfelt! You and your family are in my prayers 🙏. Bonnie G.

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  29. My heart goes out to you and your family over these tragic losses. Stay strong and stay safe.

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  30. What a beautiful tribute! And now they are together for eternity.....my deepest condolences.

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  31. Dear Joni, who so inspires us all, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your adored father. I also send you my very best wishes for a complete recovery from COVID and a Happy and Healthy 2021.

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  32. Joni, I'm so very sorry for the losses of your father and Betty Rae. What lovely lives they loved. Wishing you and your family complete and speedy recoveries from the virus, and a much safer and saner new year.

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  33. Joni, fathers can't be replaced but we can certainly have wonderful memories of our time with them. I know you are grieving. My father died on New Years Eve, 1989 and I think of him and chuckle often. You will chuckle too, promise.

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  34. It’s so terribly sad to lose your last living parent. I don’t care how old you are, it makes you feel,orphaned.
    Prayer for you and your family and hope for a complete recovery. I had it last January before they knew what it was....still,have trouble with taste and smell!

    I love your blog over all other blogs on the internet ♥️♥️😂♥️♥️

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  35. I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad and step Mom. Praying you get over Covid quickly and the God will see us all through this horrible season of grief.

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  36. It’s so terribly sad to lose your last living parent. I don’t care how old you are, it makes you feel,orphaned.
    Prayer for you and your family and hope for a complete recovery. I had it last January before they knew what it was....still,have trouble with taste and smell!

    I love your blog over all other blogs on the internet ♥️♥️😂♥️♥️

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  37. Joni,
    Praying for peace as you grieve the loss of your Dad and Betty Rae. What a wonderful tribute to both of them

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  38. Joni, It sounds like your dad and stepmother had a great marriage and enjoyed their life together. I am so terribly sorry for your loss. My dad passed last March and I understand how painful it is to lose a parent.

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  39. I was a Daddy's girl and I always loved your stories about your Dad. So glad he was able to find love and share love. Thinking of you, the best baby in the bassinet lineup.

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  40. May his memory be a blessing.

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  41. I am just in tears after reading this sweet post. Your dad and your two moms sound like wonderful people. You were so fortunate to have them. I am sending heartfelt condolences to you and to Ben at this time. Please get well soon. I love your blog. It is a real bright spot, especially in difficult times.

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  42. Joni, I always get a smile on my face when I see you in my emails... a happy anticipation of what joy you will bring me today. Today, was a different emotion... I am saddened for you and for your loss. It’s hard to lose a parent, especially this year. I will add your family to our prayers. Laura

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  43. oh Joni, my heart fell when I read headline in your gift of your beautiful blog; I have followed for as long as you have been here. What a baffling disease this covid....as I look at life in decades & how fast they fly, many decades we are so unaware as we grow up...my Dad too was a fighter, a Marine fighter pilot, gave out bread to feed others & his family during the depression, stood in lines seeking work, and passed at 63 from Rheumatic Fever growing up in Cambridge, Mass. Oh how I feel your loss deeply. Funny however our age, we still feel like children, shall we never lose the child like in each of us

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  44. Joni, my heart breaks for you.. you are in my prayers .

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  45. My deepest sympathies, Joni. Your Dad sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing him with us. That kind of man never really dies when we share the stories. It's hard that we can't hold them any more, or make new mischief with them, but the adventures you shared together will live in your heart forever. I hope that soon the pain will fade, leaving only the good memories. Stay safe. Big hugs.

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  46. Joni, I am so very sorry for your loss. I am also sorry that you've been ill with this horrible virus, and that your siblings are ill. I am praying for you.

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  47. Oh my goodness, Joni. I'm so very sorry. To lose both parents within a few days of each other, and have COVID yourself is unfathomable. Your Dad and step-Mom both seemed to be smart, elegant and wonderful people. I am sending you healing energy and hugs from California. <3 <3 <3

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  48. Oh so heartbreaking, Joni. Wish I could give you a hug.

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  49. Joni, you are such a light in life. As a follower of your blog for nearly the past decade my favorite day is a day that you have a new post. I feel that I have gotten to know you, Ben and Elisabeth through your posts - I have a heavy heart today thinking about you and your family. Please know my thoughts are with you. Your dad raised quite a girl! xx, Beth Fulton - Los Angles, CA.

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  50. Dearest Joni, tears poured down my face as I read this heartbreaking blog post. I am so terribly sorry for your losses. I just cannot bear the ravages of Covid. I pray that you fully recover right away & I hope Ben and Elisabeth are spared. I am keeping your entire family in my prayers throughout this unbelievably difficult time. Thank you for sharing your wonderful parents with us through your blog. Such lovely people. Hugs, my friend.

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  51. Dear Joni, I'm praying for comfort for you and your loved ones. I'm so sorry for your loss. You were a lucky girl to have such amazing parents. I'm wishing you all good health for the new year.

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  52. My sincere condolences on the loss of your father and his wife. What a wonderful person he was and how lucky you were to be a part of it! SO rich, so colorful, such a wonderful influence for you. The immediate loss is so painful but the memories have already started to rush in to help you heal. My best to you and yours....

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  53. What an utterly beautiful post. What a glorious life your Dad had and your love and appreciation for him, your Mom and your Step Mom comes through loud and clear. Such wonderful remembrances. You loved them, and I bet they adored you too. Stay strong, be well. Sorry about your Covid experience. Here in Los Angeles we are on lock down, and this thing is scary. Thank you for sharing this lovely remembrance.

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  54. This is a beautiful tribute to your Dad. He sounds like a wonderful man and I am so glad he was able to find happiness TWICE!!! I will keep you in my prayers for peace. Happy New Year, Joni. I also hope you have a mild case of Covid and recover quickly!

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  55. You honor him with this beautiful tribute. I am so sorry for your loss....(and by the way, never knew you were adopted...my only child is too!)

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  56. You too, like your father have a gift for storytelling and I so enjoy your posts for years now. I am an untrained decorator and love all your research. I am so sorry about the passing of now only your Dad but both your Mom and Step Mom. I am dealing with my 65 year old oldest sister who has chosen to not seek any treatment for lung cancer and has chosen to die. As my husband says, she lived recklessly and will die recklessly. I did just arrive back home after spending a quality week with her and one other sister. I have been to South Padre Island and loved it there. I currently live in Illinois since my hubby is from here. Take care

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  57. Joni, I'm so sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences. I feel like I know you after reading your blog all these years, and my heart goes out to you.

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  58. I'm sorry for your loss. Bless your heart and theirs too. I pray your recovery will be swift and complete.

    Barbara

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  59. Joni, Oh my, I am so sorry for your loss. I saw your Dad and Mom's photos on the link to their obituaries, and your Mom was gorgeous, and your father looked every bit as you described him, gentle, caring and handsome. It sounds like you have wonderful memories, and I pray they will sustain you and your family.

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  60. Jane (a long-time fan)December 31, 2020 at 5:21 PM

    Joni,

    Please accept my sincere condolences. Your father and your mother sound like wonderful people; thank you for sharing their beautiful stories with us. I will keep you and your loved ones in my prayers and I wish you a speedy and full recovery.

    Jane

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  61. Oh Joni, I am so very sorry you and your family have been going through what must feel like unbearable trials. Your tribute to the parents who chose you from all the others, and who have unconditionally loved you, are now endeared by so many. Thank you for having the courage to share your most sacred thoughts. It is clear that you have inherited your mother's grace and your father's love of sharing his gifts with others.

    I too understand the uniqueness of adoption and have been blessed to give back through my volunteering as a DNA Search Angel.

    You and your family will be in my family's prayers.

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  62. Oh Joni i am so sorry about your dad and moms. I pray you move swiftly to full recovery; inflammation and survival response are huge factors that can be overcome with science ; where ever and whenever you can, take a ;break from the internet world and real world and use that energy to heal; you deserve all that 'you have given so much fun and joy and escape to many of us. other folks can take the wheel for now.

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  63. Joni,
    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Dad's are so important in a girls life. I hope you will be well soon.
    xo,
    Karen

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  64. My sincerest condolences, Joni. What a blow to lose them both. If there is a silver lining, it is that they never had to live without one another. I hope this brings you and your family some measure of comfort. Sendings prayers ⬆️

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  65. Joni, Many heartfelt blessings coming your way. Healing for all, for illness and the major hole in your family passing

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  66. Yours is such a lovely love story. Betty Rae and Ralph lived a beautiful life and created their legacy through their family. You hand your family have been richly blessed. It seems as no coincidence that they passed so close together which sounds like another blessing. Peace to you and your family Joni. Thank you for writing this beautiful piece and for sharing your love and pain. My thoughts are with you. Hope you all all heal from this monstrous virus as well as the from your heartbreak.

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  67. Beautiful tribute and obituaries to your Father's and Betty Rae's lives. Such a senseless illness, and to have gotten it and succumbed to it this close to having the vaccine only leaves us that much more sorrowful. I'm glad you seem to have recovered, and hope your sister and brother-in-law full recovery too.

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  68. Hi Joni, I am a long time reader of yours. I loved reading about your father's wonderful life. And have enjoyed your posts about Betty Rae in the past. You have wonderful family memories to always comfort you. Best wishes to you and your family.

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  69. Joni, please find comfort in knowing your parents are together- healthy, happy and laughing together
    reborn by the grace of God in the light of his kingdom.

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  70. I loved reading all about your precious family and history Joni! I'm so sorry to hear about your loses this year!
    Like you I soaked up every decorating magazine at a very young age, and always set aside an hour or two to escape into your stories, visualizing a walk through each and every room, noticing every single detail you so beautifully describe . . . looking forward to your 2021 emails - Happy New Year!

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  71. My deepest condolences. They sounded like a wonderful couple!

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  72. Joni please stay well. I am so sorry for your loss. My best to your entire family.

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  73. Joni, I am so very sorry for you and your family. Losing a loved one, as you know is difficult. You will always keep your dad near you through the wonderful memories that you have of him. My deepest sympathy. Barbara

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  74. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. What a touching tribute to you father and step mother. I have followed your blog for several years and look forward to every post that you share. Each one is so brillantly written. Thank you for sharing your insightful perspective with your blog audiance!







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  75. I'm so sorry for your loss. May his memory be a blessing.

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  76. My condolences, and your telling us about your dad was a wonderful tribute to him. Thank you.

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  77. You told a beautiful story about two beautiful lives. The bountiful joy they gave deepens the vast loss. My sympathies to you and your family. Best wishes for your own recovery from COVID.

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  79. I am so sorry for your loss Joni. What a great man and an admirable life!
    xoxo
    Karen

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  80. I am so sorry for your losses. I hope your happiest memories are a bridge to comfort. Be well, stay safe and yes, wear a mask. oo&xx hb

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  81. Joni, I am sorry for your loss. You had a blessed childhood and rich memories of a loving family. Prayers for your
    healing.

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  82. Oh, I am so sorry, Joni. Life is made of hello and good byes. The good byes are always hard. What a lovely homage to your dad. I loved reading about your memories. I too was adopted -- I was 3 months old -- and raised by a quiet and wise father and a very loving mother. I feel fortunate I was adopted. I would not want anyone else to be my parents. I am sure, by reading your lovely post, that you feel the same.

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  83. I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart is breaking for you and your family. What a wonderful post to a life wonderfully lived.

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  84. I am so sorry for your losses. Thank you for posting to tell us about your wonderful parents.

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  85. Joni, what a heartfelt tribute. I am so very sorry for your losses.

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  86. Death is an Open Door

    Death is just an open door:
    I have only slipped away
    Into the next room.

    I am I, and you are you
    Whatever we were to each other,
    That we still are.

    Call me by my old familiar name,
    Speak to me in the easy way
    Which you always used.

    Put no difference in your tone,
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

    Laugh as we always laughed
    At the little jokes we enjoyed together

    Let my name be ever the household word
    That it always was
    Let it be spoken without effect,
    Without the trace of shadow on it.

    Life means all that it ever meant.
    It is the same as it ever was;
    There is unbroken continuity
    Why should I be out of mind
    Because I am out of sight?

    I am waiting for you, for an interval,
    Somewhere near,
    Safe and Secure

    ALL IS WELL.

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  87. Air hugs! No words. Yours were beautiful though...

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  92. A beautiful tribute. Words are hard to find to convey the depth of sadness and heartfelt sympathy for you and your precious family. Some losses never leave us. Somehow the sun continues to rise and we pick up the memories of our loved ones and carry them within our hearts as we move onward without them, however difficult that is. Wishing you peace, solace, strength and comfort -

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  93. Sending deep sympathy to you and your family. So sad.

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  94. I am so sorry for your loss. How tragic to lose 2 within 5 days. God bless you and your family.

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  95. My deepest sympathy on the loss of your beloved father and of Betty Rae. Thank you for sharing with us the wonderful and inspiring story of his life and wishing you good health.

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  96. I am deeply sorry for your loss and for the illness that is coursing its way through your family. Thank you for sharing the lovely tribute of your father so that we can get a glimpse of the man he was and the kind of fun and loving family you were raised in. Wishing you support and kindness from both expected and unexpected places.

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  97. Don't cry over my coffin as i will not be able to wipe your tears this time - Galigator

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  98. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a superb article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

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  99. THANK YOU! For such a moving tribute to your father. And also for spreading the word on Covid. There are so many Americans who are minimizing it!

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