Friday, June 17, 2011

The Last Dance -

My Father Millan F. Gledhill
Since it is Father's Day on Sunday, I thought I would write some thoughts and memories about my Father. My Father passed away  October of 2001. He had Alzheimer's and died from complication from hip surgery. 
First, I want all to know that my Father loved our Savior Jesus Christ and Our Heavenly Father with all of his heart. He was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He had been in active for many years but when he came back into the church he taught me so much about charity. He served several missions for our church and I learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ by him practising his lesson on my Mother and I. They loved going to the temple and they were able to serve in the Cove Fort Mission in their latter years.
I owe a special thanks you to my Father for nurturing my testimony. I have deep gratitude to my Heavenly Father for providing me with such faithful and good parents.
I have two older brothers and I was his only daughter of which he spoiled me a lot. Here are a few treasured memories of him. My Dad was a farmer and I remember him taking me out to the farm where he would let me ride with him on the different farm machines. He would let me sit on his lap while he was driving his truck around the farm and I would steer the truck.
He loved to fish and we went on many fishing trips. I know that sometimes he would put a fish on the end of my fishing pole when I was off playing and then he would call out to me that I had a fish on my line. 
When I was 9 years old my Dad had lost his farm and was working as an Ice Cream delivery man.  His route was from Richfield up to Eureka, Utah and back. He would often take one of us with him on his trips. On his route, he would deliver Ice Cream to different Cafes in the many small towns. He would often get me a little ice cream treat from the the back of the truck when he made stops. When we arrived in Eureka we would stay in a hotel room and he would take me to a movie; which generally was a cowboy movie. Even today I continue to enjoy watching cowboy movies. I always wanted to be Annie Oakley and spent many hours on the farm pretending I was her.
Every birthday and other special days he would buy me a Story Book Doll. I am sure Mother played a big part in this one too. I have quite a collection of these dolls.
My Dad loved riding horses and would  take me on the horse with him. One memorable trip that we had as a family was riding horses up on Fish Lake Mountain and staying in my uncles cabin for a few days.
  He loved to hunt deer and later on in life when I was married we went deer hunting with my family and always had such a good time. He was so fun to be with. My dear father had such a delightful personality; people loved to be around him. All of my children and many of my  grandchildren have had treasured moments with my Dad.
He loved sports and coached the town baseball team in Richfield for many years. My brothers became good at all of the sports and my Dad did not miss a game. For hours after the games he and my brothers would go over all of the good and bad parts of the game. He was a really a good coach. I felt like I was raised on a baseball field; because we went to all of the games. I think I spent most of the time playing under the bleachers. I too loved to play sports and my favorite was basketball and I can still do layups with my grandchildren.
Whenever we were in the car or truck he loved to sing. He didn't have a  quality voice but he could sing. He sang so many fun songs. My mother would also sing with him. He loved songs like; "My Wild Irish Rose", "Danny Boy", the Yellow Rose of Texas", "Always", and many other special songs.
Three years before he passed away; he made a recording of some of his favorite songs along with one that he made up the words too and gave it to my mother. He was a romantic man and loved my mother with all of his heart and soul and she felt the same for him. He was always hugging and kissing her. 
As his Alzehimers' disease progressed my mom finally could not care for him at home and he was placed in a care center. At one point he was assigned a room with another man. Somehow the two of them connected and we came in one day to hear them both singing some of the old time songs and it was so wonderful. We clapped and enjoyed the moment with tears streaming down our faces. They had an audience but didn't even know it
One of my fondest memories is my last dance. Growing up my Dad and Mom loved to go dancing. They belonged to a square dancing group for a while. My Dad was a very good dancer. Whenever there was dance music playing in our home; he would grab my mother and dance with her and then he would always dance with me too.

When he developed Alzheimer's disease and was in the  Care Center; I flew down  from my home in Spokane to Las Vegas to see him  a few times before he passed a way. The amazing thing about my Dad was that he always remembered who my mom was and he would always remember me. He had a pet name that he called me and it was Leanne. I miss hearing him say that name. One of the last visits that I made to see him in the Care Center; my mom and I took him down  to the recreation room. There was music playing and he grabbed my mom and danced a way with her.  When the music stopped he came over to me and as the music began again I had a last dance with my precious Dad. I will treasure that memory forever.
Towards the end he was put in to the Hospice Hospital that I had worked for  a few years when we lived in Las Vegas.  My husband and I flew down and that day ended up being his last night. I had encouraged my mother and everyone else to go home and get some rest. My husband and I stayed at his bedside and I was holding my Dad's hand when he took his last breathe.
I love you Daddy, I miss you and I will be yours forever.
Here's some photo's of my Dad and Me!

This one is a favorite one!

My Dad and Mom's last trip to our Spokane home

6 comments:

Sue said...

I loved hearing about your wonderful dad, and I loved seeing the pictures of the two of you together!

=)

Marie said...

Such beautiful memories of your beloved father. I loved reading it. What a special man he was. I am so grateful for the Gospel which teaches us that we can be together forever. I know it will be a comfort for me when my own father passes as I am sure it is a comfort for you. ((((hugs))))

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

You've written a beautiful and loving tribute to your father. LeAnn. Your love for him shines through and I can tell he loved you dearly, too. And the photos are wonderful. Your dad was like mine in many ways. And, my dad had senile dementia in his last couple of years, but while he didn't make a lot of sense in most of the things he said, he always knew who I was and would ask me how my family was. Just before he passed away, he would wheel his chair down the halls of the caring center and tell everyone that they needed to know Jesus! He wasn't that verbal about spiritual matters prior to the dementia, I thought it was interesting that he would do that even tho I knew he was a believer. Have a good weekend!

Grammy Staffy said...

What a sweet tribute to your dad. I loved seeing the pictures. I did not have a father in my life. I missed out but that makes me all the more thankful that my husband and
sons -in-law are good dads.
Have a great week. Hugs, Lura

Just Ramblin' said...

What a sweet tribute to your father! Thank you for sharing these special memories and pictures! Nola

Laura said...

Beautiful post. It's wonderful that you have such happy memories of your father. I loved the pics!

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