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My dad always had an remarkable sense of humor and was highly intelligent, but I didn’t see his amazing tenderness as I grew up. It was buried by years of severe emotional abuse by his mother and an uninvolved father.
But ten years ago, Alzheimer’s changed that. The curse of Alzheimer’s became a stunning blessing as the disease ripped away the outer shell my Dad had built to protect his heart.
Tears formed in my dad’s eyes where there had been none before. Laughter poured out of him and kept increasing in measure till it became a waterfall. He spoke deep words of love to me he wasn’t able to say during my childhood years.
In the early stages of the disease Dad and I took a cruise around Italy together. We visited Venice, Pompeii, the island of Capri, and so many other spots. As Dad said, “it was the trip of a lifetime.”
On the last day of the cruise as we were about to get off the ship in Rome, a man about my age came up to my dad and I and said, “It’s amazing to see the relationship between you two, my father and I could never take a trip like this together.”
We built so many memoires like the one above. And now, as he crossed the bridge and has stepped into eternity, those memories are been restored. He is whole, he is free.
My dad was kind but I wouldn’t describe him as nice. Let me explain. Nice people sometimes say the correct thing when they don’t really mean it. Nice people often don’t tell you what they’re really thinking. That was not my father.
He told you exactly what he thought. He questioned people if he didn’t agree. But when he disagreed, or told you what he thought, it was with incredible kindness, acceptance and love. It made him astoundingly authentic. And people were drawn to him because of it.
No one who met my dad in the past ten years could stop from being affected by his unrelenting joy. Everyone everywhere he went fell in love with my father. He loved on everyone he met without inhibition, with reservation.
It’s why everyone who came in contact with him—and I mean everyone, down to the nurses who took care of him during his last two days on earth—were affected, were changed, were inspired, were cared for with a passion that could only emanate from his true Father in heaven.
Dad was full of truth. And full of love. And joy. Incredible joy.
Jimmie L. Rubart truly was joy unleashed.
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