My father died after a long and full life and a mercifully short stay in the hospital.
I am grateful that I made it from North Carolina to spend his last 21 hours with him.
I am also thankful beyond words for my mother (especially), sisters, brothers-in-law, and nephews who no doubt kept my dad alive with their love and care much longer than we could have expected. I left California in 1991 and was absent from my family more than I was present for a couple of decades. They never were.
That allowed me to go off and do my own thing. I like to tell myself that my leaving home was very much in my father’s spirit.
He grew up walking to school barefooted on Kauai, graduated from high school in 1948 and left for technical school in Wisconsin then Indiana, served in the US Army from 1953 to 1955 in Texas and Washington, settled in the Bay Area, and traveled for work and met my mother in upstate New York in 1960.
Ray and Jean Yamane traveled the United States and the world before moving into our family home in Half Moon Bay in 1971 where they celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary last month.
I was fortunate to be able to work for my dad many summers starting when I was a teenager. He entrusted me to do real work and asked only that I do my best. A lesson I have carried through my personal and professional life. He also paid me well enough that I could follow in his footsteps of buying hi-fi equipment and Ben Hogan golf clubs, something I enjoy to this day.
Over the course of his life, my father had a remarkable ability to roll with the hand he was dealt. When the time came, he quit smoking, quit drinking beer, quit golfing, and quit driving. But he remained pretty happy (all things health-wise considered) and stayed busy working on the yard and his computer until the very end.
Even though I have been preparing myself for this moment for some time now, it still hits hard. I have a huge hole in my heart.
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