Alan’s dad was 66 when he left this life last Friday.
He had congestive heart failure, diabetes, and emphysema for many years, was confined to a hospital bed for much of that time, and was in a nursing home for the past year. Relationships in his family have been strained or non-existent at times, but Alan made the long road trip from Utah to his hometown in California in order to see his dad at least twice a year.
Willy wasn’t a man of many words, but it’s been a few years now that he has been the first to say the words, “I love you” to Alan. Illness softened his rough edges in that regard. It meant a lot to Alan. A whole lot.
When your dad doesn’t want a funeral service and family doesn’t gather in his memory, do you go on with life as if nothing happened? In a foreign country? I wouldn’t either. That’s why Alan chose to go back to Utah to visit the people who have become his family over the past 22 years since he left home. Closure is important.
I spent some time studying Willy’s face when I drew his portrait for Alan’s birthday one year; his blue eyes are striking and they twinkled when Alan made him laugh. Events in Willy’s life left some emotional scars that turned to gruffness, but he was a kind and gentle man at heart.
Willy was a carpenter by trade. Alan tells stories of his dad’s meticulous work and expecting the same from his sons when they helped on the job. He tried to convince his sons not to follow in his career path, but they all picked it up and continue to work in carpentry or some form of it today.
He was proud of Alan’s military service and all of his kids accomplishments. He let us know it.
William Edgar Pentico
Born March 22, 1945
Willy with Alan on his lap, sitting next to his wife of 43 years, Jean (Alan’s step-mom) and Alan’s younger brother, John ~ 1968. Willy also has two other sons, William (oldest) and Tom (youngest) as well as 6 grandchildren who are all living.
Cool Cat Willy ~ 1962
I believe the love Willy is feeling from beyond the veil of this life will sooth his soul and heal his wounded heart.
I’m grateful I got to sit at the edge of his hospital bed and help keep him company for a time.