The Loss of a Great Man: Ed Truhlik (7/7/1928 – 10/11/2016)

 

Dad - Christmas 2007

It is in the depths of great sorrow that I report the passing of my father, Ed Truhlik, who lived a good long life until Congestive Heart Failure took him suddenly from us on Tuesday morning, October 11, 2016.

It was overwhelmingly traumatic while on the phone with the 911 dispatcher as my Dad was gasping for air. The EMS Techs and the guys from the fire department worked on him for 40 minutes but couldn’t bring him back. It was devastating.

At least he’s no longer in pain. For the last few years, my Dad suffered tremendous pain in both his shoulders. The arthritis had him bone on bone in both. He desperately wanted to have surgery but no one would touch him because, at 88, he was declared a high cardiac risk. So he suffered every single day. The only saving grace with his passing is knowing that he’s not hurting anymore.

 

My father was a great man. Everyone who met him loved him. He was a very genuine down-to-earth man. A big man, he stood 6 feet tall and hovered around 234 lbs. but he was gentle and quiet.

Dad 11-28-2004

 

He certainly was no stranger to hard work. A bull-worker I’d call him. He was an awesome provider and worked hard all his life, retiring in 1990 from his job as a Millwright at General Motors (Harrison Radiator in Lockport NY). When he wasn’t working for GM, he was busy working around the house. “Tinkering” he’d call it. He was always doing something, fixing something, building something. He stayed busy.

It was especially sad that in recent years he was no longer able to really do much. He had neuropathy in his feet and it made him very unsteady and he used a walker to get around. Over the last year that he and my Mom have been staying with me, he fell a number of times, each time requiring a call to 911 for a lift assist request from the wonderful guys at the fire department. It was heartbreaking to see my big strong strapping dad lying helplessly on the floor. As they say, getting old ain’t for sissies.

 

My dad was a proud military veteran, having served in both the Navy and the Army — serving in WWII and the Korean War. He was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne and was later an MP at Fort Bragg. My parent’s car sports an Airborne license plate and so many times people have stopped and went out of their way to thank him for his service. I always thought that was so nice.

82nd-airborne-division-patch-with-jump-wings-9

 

A few years ago when my folks were visiting, we were sitting out on my deck on a gorgeous Spring day when I started asking my Dad about his military days. He began recounting and reminiscing and as he talked, I sat there and took notes on my iPad. I’m so grateful that we had that conversation, he had such a rich history!

 

One of the many things that I’m going to miss about my dad is seeing all his tattoos. He had several and they looked so cool. Getting all of them during his early military years they were faded blue and they looked so fantastic on his tanned body. (He loved to sit in the sun).

 

Dad - November 2004

He had tats of naked women on his arms and thighs, a crucifix on his upper arm, sparrows above each tit, one reading “Sweet” and the other “Sour”.  Plus some other designs, including a parachute to honor his 43 jumps. Probably what I loved the most were the tats on his knuckles: on one hand were the letters L O V E and on the other his name E D D Y. I was holding his hand after he passed and rubbing those knuckles on the hand that had his name. I thought how sad that I’m never going to see his tattoos again. They were just so much a part of him and his history.

 

I will be forever grateful to have spent this last year with him. My folks came down (from North Carolina) last November to spend the winter with me, but my Mom ended up having open heart surgery in February so they’ve been here all this time as she has been recovering. I would’ve been more than devastated if he had died so many miles away from me.

During this past year, I’ve had the privilege of learning more about my Dad, his childhood and his life. I’ll miss the dinnertime conversations and all the opportunities I had to ask questions. I’ll miss taking him to Costco where he loved to sit in the food court and eat a few hotdogs. I’ll miss taking him to Rick’s Flattop Shop for his haircuts, where he so enjoyed talking about the good ol’ days with the barber.

 

Dad at Rick's Flattop Shop - April 2016

 

I’ll really miss him greeting me each morning. He’d come out of his room every day saying “Good morning, good morning, good morning!” I’d say “Hi Dad” and he’d say “Hi Dupe.” All of my life, since I was a baby, he’s called me Dupey. I’m sad that I’ll never hear him call me that again.

Thankfully we’ve had all this amazing quality time together over the last year. Talk about priceless!

More than anything, I’m forever grateful that God gave me the wonderful man that was my father. He will be greatly missed by many, and especially by our family.  One thing that I know for sure: he loved me deeply. There wasn’t anything in the world that he wouldn’t do for me. And I loved him so much.

I miss you Dad! Keep an eye on me from up above and give me some signs that you’re still with me. You’ll always be in my heart. Thank you for being such a great father. I love you always.

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38 thoughts on “The Loss of a Great Man: Ed Truhlik (7/7/1928 – 10/11/2016)

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your dad and that you had to witness this and feel helpless. I am certain there are a huge amount of emotions going through you right now including just ” going through the motions”. He looks like a very soft soul who people respected and I must thank you for sharing in your memories of him so soon after his passing. We just went through Thanksgiving and it must have been nice to be with your parents. I’m glad you were there for both of them and I know your mom will need you now. It’s hard when you are the caregiver but it also shows how much you love them and respect them. You are a great daughter and I know he is proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Birgit. They mean a lot to me. This is definitely a devastating time and your words of comfort are very healing. Thank you.

      Like

    • Thanks so much for reading my tribute guys. I’m so glad that you got to meet him!
      Mom and I are looking forward to coming over on Sunday. See you then. Thanks for the love…

      Like

  2. Michele, this is devastating news. I was just thinking about you and your folks and wondering how things are going over there. I am deeply saddened and deeply sorry for your loss. Thank you for telling us about your father. He was a fine man, larger than life, and I can tell how much you loved him and how much he loved you. You did all you could for as long as you could to take care of him and make him comfortable in the final months of his life and I know that he and your mother appreciated it. You are right. It would have been so much worse had he passed away back east instead of there in Austin with you by his side holding his hand. I will keep you and your mother in my prayers during the difficult hours, days and week ahead, Michele. Again, my heart goes out to you, my dear friend. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Tom, thanks so much. Thanks for reading about my Dad. I’m happy to share him with you all. He was a great man and will be deeply missed.
      I spent today finalizing the details for his body donation. It was his wish for his body to be donated to science and the good folks at Parker University in Dallas have accepted him into their program. It’s an anatomical college and the students are future chiropractors. I’m so glad that he was accepted. UT turned him down because he didn’t meet their very strict criteria. The call from Parker was what woke me this morning and me and Mom are relieved. When they are done with him, he will be cremated and we’ll get his remains at no charge to us. What a wonderful program!

      Thank you for being such a good friend over these last several months. It always meant so much to me when you asked about my Dad and Mom. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. A big hug to you…

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  3. So sorry to hear of your loss. Your dad looks and sounds like a great guy and I can understand how you would miss him. You were fortunate to have him for as many years as you did. You have a lot of great memories to keep him with you, but I know it’s nothing like having him right there where you can see him and talk to him.

    Blessings to you and your family.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Debbie. Thanks for reading his tribute. We miss him so much and still can’t believe it. It was so unexpected. We’re all reeling over here…
      Thanks for the love! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right John. I think it would get harder the older we get because as we age, we are less apt to take for granted the time we have together and so we consciously make an effort to make the most of that time…and that’s where beautiful memories are made. It’s heartbreaking for sure.
      Thanks for reading his tribute…

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  4. Michelle, loving thoughts with you and your family at this very sad time. Thank you for sharing your memories with this great man, husband and father. All condolences to you all. May his dear soul rest in peace and you all too, knowing that he is pain free and at rest. Oscar Wilde: ‘Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that Oscar Wilde quote is beautiful! And so true.
      Thank you so much Susan. Your kind words mean everything to us right now.
      Thanks for reading his tribute and allowing me to introduce my Dad to you. He was a great man…

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  5. I’m so sorry for your loss Michele – thank you for sharing your father with us all as he sounds like an amazing man and his smile is beautiful. This time is such a difficult one as you’re grieving but probably trying to sort things out as well, so in the middle of everything make sure that you take some time for you and thoughts of your dad. Even though he has gone he’s still a huge part of the person you are so he’s always with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Pamela. I really appreciate your kind words. They mean so much to us at this time. Thanks for reading about my Dad. I was happy to share him…
      And I will definitely miss that smile of his!

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  6. MICHELE ~
    This was a wonderful tribute to your Dad, and I’ll admit I got a little misty-eyed at the end. I’m so very sorry. It’s obvious that you loved your Dad very much. I still vividly recall when my Pa passed away, while I was holding one of his hands in the hospital. It’s just something you don’t forget or ever completely get over. My Pa was able to reach me several times from “the other side” and I hope yours does, too.

    Your Dad really was a very nice man. It’s clearly seen in his face, there’s no mistaking it. I’m starting to get misty-eyed again just typing this.

    I’ll pray for his peace, Michele, and yours and your Mom’s also. Take care, and rejoice in this: I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know but… you WILL see your Dad again someday. There’s no question about that whatsoever. And think how sweet that “Hi Dupe!!” is going to sound at the reunion.

    ~ D-FensDogG Stephen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, what a wonderful comment Stephen. Thank you so much. I’m so glad to hear that your dad has reached out to you from the other side. I had something happen the other day: the day he passed, I had to run to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for the dog and as I was pulling out of my subdivision, I got a whiff of my dad. I smelled him for a brief instant. It was a fleeting instant but very powerful. He always smelled so good. I don’t even want to ever wash his face towel because I can smell him on it. It’s crazy the things that make one feel close to their loved ones. I hope I get many more signs that he is with me. I don’t know if this meant anything but I had three encounters with butterflies on Tuesday, the day he passed.
      And I do so believe that we will be together again! Of that I have no doubt!! I just miss him now though. We’re supposed to be having dinner together just about now…And I was supposed to take him to Costco yesterday. 😦

      Thanks again for your kind words. They mean so much to me. I’ll pass along your message to my mom too…Thank you for your prayers. And thanks for reading about my Dad. He was a great man indeed.

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  7. Oh! Michele, John and I are so sorry for your loss. You and family have our deepest sympathy. What a beautiful tribute to your Dad, Tears rolling down my cheeks as I read this, What beautiful pictures and memories you have. Yes your Dad was a down to earth hard working man and he Loved you and Eddie so much. I knew him from way back when he met your Mom and I always liked him. I don’t think anyone could ever say anything bad about him. My John liked him the first time he met him. John said he was a quiet gentle man. As I told your Mom the other day on the phone, he seemed like a big teddy Bear when he would give me a hug.because of his size and me just under 5 ft. He will always be with you Michele, He will be with you in spirit, just as Christ is.Tell your Mom I love her. and I will call soon and talk. Love ya cuz. and thanks for sharing all these great memories

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Mattie. It was good talking with you the other day. I’m so glad you know my Dad so well. And I’m so glad we all had that time together in NY at Eddie’s. That was great fun! It’s just a shame that we all couldn’t have gotten together again…

      Thanks for reading the tribute. Aren’t the pictures great? We were washing clothes today and I was folding this really nice blue shirt and shorts outfit that Eddie and Diane had just gotten him for his birthday. He looked so good in it. I said to Mom how I wished I had snapped a photo of him wearing that outfit because he looked so good in it…and Eddie and Diane would’ve loved it. So many things that I wish I would’ve done. I wish I would’ve taken him to Costco one more time. I wish I would’ve taken him for just one more ride…Just saying this is making me cry. If only we knew when the end was coming…

      Thanks so much for being in our lives. We love you guys. Send my love to John. And we’ll look forward to talking to you soon.
      Love you Mattie…

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      • Michele I too am so glad we had those times together, I have to tell you this when my Dad died,I said to John I will never hear my nickname daddy called me again. Reading about the name your dad had for you brought back memories. My Dad used to call me Dovey, He told me when I was born I was so small I reminded him of a little Dove and that was the name he gave me, and when he died that name went with him. Michele you and your family will see him someday. I know without a doubt that I will see my Dad also, Jesus wants us to all know him as our personal Savior and put our faith and trust in him. You can surely feel Blest that you had this time with him and your Mom. God Bless you. Love ya

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh what a sweet nickname! Dovey: how precious. Well, we’ll all get to see them again. I know it too. I just hope he’ll make contact soon or visit me in my dreams…

          Love you Mattie.

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  8. Oh Michelle, I am so sorry. My heart hurts for you! I sit, with tears running down my face, as I read of your love for your dad. He looks like a special man. Very handsome. You were so, so lucky! Take care! And may he rest in peace!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Paula. He was handsome, wasn’t he? I’ll have to dig up some pics of when he was young. Wow! He was so good looking (and as my Mom tells it, he was cocky too! 🙂 )

      I’m am definitely blessed to have spent all this time with him this past year and I thank God for this time.

      Thanks for your kind words. Means a lot to me…

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  9. Michele, I am just now seeing this post about your dad. I am so sorry for your loss. Such a loving tribute you have written. If you need a shoulder to lean on, let me know. If you need a battle to borrow for BOTB, let me know. I’m here for you.

    ~Mary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Mary. I appreciate it.

      I just read your comment over at Stephen’s battle about playing Always Look on the Bright Side of Life at your brother’s funeral. That was a great tribute video you made for him. So sorry for your loss too.

      Thanks for reading about my Dad. He was an awesome guy! and a great father… I miss him.

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  10. Hello Angel,
    Let me express my deepest sympathy for your loss. Separation is difficult. It will take time to really realise your dad is no longer on this side of life, but you have stored a treasure trove of memories in your heart so take out a memory a day as you walk through the process of getting use to him not being here.
    I too had a painful lost on October 11th and I wrote a tribute to him. It is a poem and if you like you can read it at http://garciaandwalkon.me. Maybe it will comfort you too.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pat, thank you so much for reading about my Dad. And thank you for your words of comfort. Your poem is absolutely beautiful and it touched me deeply. Thank you for sharing it.
      And you’re right: I have a wellspring of memories to guide me through the days ahead.
      God bless. May you take comfort in knowing that you are in my thoughts as well….
      XOXO

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  11. Sorry to hear about the loss of your father. It’s been almost three years since I lost my father and I thought the same thing, at least he was no longer in pain. My thoughts will be with you for the next few weeks. It’s always hard, but you have friends and family you can rely on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jeffrey. I appreciate your thoughts and kind words. Sorry about your father too. It’s heartbreaking to see our loved ones in pain. I know my Dad suffered every day with the debilitating pain of arthritis that no one could do anything about. He was one tough guy.
      And you’re right: I do have amazing family and amazing friends to help me though this. Thanks.

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  12. I’m sorry I’m reading this late. I was listening to your Battle of the Bands when I saw this post. Couldn’t help but scroll down to see what I missed. OH Michele…. I’m so sorry. I feel so badly for you. I was absolutely crushed when my dad died. He had cancer and I knew it was coming and still… it was just horrible. Sounds like your dad wasn’t in good shape for a while, but still… I hate that this happened. Just hate it. I wish I could reach through the screen and give you the biggest hug.

    I wish I could tell you that it all gets better real soon. That would be a lie. It doesn’t. It comes and goes in waves. You constantly have to remind yourself that he’s in a better place (he is!) and he’s still with you (he is!) and he’s always watching over you (he is!) and you will be together again some day (you will!). But during those times when you forget… you’re sad. And I guess that’s okay.

    I hope your mom is still with you. The two of you can help each other through this time.
    Shortly after my dad died he came to me in dreams. That was very comforting. I truly believe it was him and not my imagination just conjuring him. I hope that your dad will reveal himself to you, too, so that you will know with certainty that he’s A-Okay and watching out for you (because he is!).

    ((Hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robin, thanks so very much for your heartfelt words. I so appreciate it.
      I can’t wait till my Dad comes to me in my dreams! He’s already come to my Mom (last night as a matter of fact). I think he made connection with me the day he passed: for a brief instant, I smelled him. He always smelled so good. I think he was with me at that very moment and that was just about 6 hours after he passed. I also had three encounters with butterflies that day. I think he was letting me know that he had transitioned and that all was well.
      I know I’m always so happy when my dogs come to me in my dreams and I’m desperately hoping to hear from my Dad.

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment and those hugs. I’ll take them! XOXO

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  13. Your tribute was beautiful my sweet Michele. Your Dad was a wonderful, loving man. I have so many fond memories of your family home in Colonial Village. I remember how I cried when your parents moved away; As in a favorite book , it is bittersweet when a great chapter comes to an end. Great men never die, they become immortalized in our hearts. You, Mom ,Eddie and Diane are in my prayers and thoughts. I love you .

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    • Cricket,
      Thanks so much for your beautiful words. I love your line “Great men never die; they become immortalized in our hearts.” So true!
      My Dad always adored you. I wish we all still lived on Colonial Dr! Mom wishes she was still in that house. I miss it. He sure put his blood, sweat and tears into that house. He is deeply missed and we’re just so sad. But your sentiments mean so much to us and will help to heal our hearts. Thank you, my beautiful friend. Love you always…And my love to your family. ❤

      Like

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