As much as I have loved Father’s Day to squeeze his neck extra tighter or kiss him even more, this Father’s Day will be devastatingly different…
It was nearing 4 am on the morning of June 6. We were jolted awake at the sound of the doorbell. My first thought is our neighbor kids but when the knocking and ringing continued, Jeremy investigated to see my brother standing in the door frame. Jeremy got me and said, “You need to go. It’s your dad.” My mother, sister, brother, and in-laws had tried to call us for hours. We were so tired. Both babies were up for an extended time and had finally crashed at 2:30 that morning. We had missed 30+ calls. My brother’s last ditch effort was to drive the 20 minutes from my dad’s hospital to our house to get us awake.
We had spent 2 months in a hospital room with Dad. (Here is the back story.) But I will always cherish this last morning in that hospital room. As we stumbled in at 4:30ish, Dad made his eyes go really wide and he mouthed “Lisa, I love you.” He made a kissy noise at me so I leaned down and we kissed. Our last kiss. Dad was in and out of coherence the rest of the morning. But those spurts of “Dad” were amazing.
Doctors eventually came in to deliver the news we were expecting, but dreading. Dad was up to 45 liters of oxygen. There was no way he could maintain. He definitely couldn’t come home on Hospice care as expected that following Monday. They couldn’t even transfer him to another floor needing those levels.
We called family. We prayed. We spent time with him and anticipated the moments of clarity. Moments when Dad would console us and tell us it would be okay. Moments when Dad would pat us and say I love you. But those moments started to fade as the morning waned on. Soon Dad talked of Jesus and looked beyond us. When he would stare into the corner of the room so intently, we would ask him what he saw. He looked surprised to see us like we weren’t there.
When it came time and we all had a moment to spend alone with Dad, we prayed, held hands, and sang. All while we watched Dad peacefully drift. It really was beautiful. He fell asleep while my mother, his wife of 50 years, knelt beside his bed. While all four of his children wept and prayed in his room.
No one has a doubt of where Dad has gone. Max and Harper now say that Grampa lives in the sky with Jesus. (That doesn’t stop them from constantly asking where Grampa is. Or asking if Grampa is going to be awake today.)
Knowing Dad is healthy, happy and loved doesn’t make the everlasting hurt better. Infertility left me with so much pain and hurt. I would go through that over and over again if it meant I’d never feel this pain of losing Dad. My heart is broken into what seems to be a million pieces. I wake up each morning crying because I desperately wanted to dream of him and didn’t. I go through the motions of my day and busy myself so I can’t dwell on my sadness.
My sadness and sorrow seem to be never ending. I miss him beyond words. As much as I miss my Dad, I also hurt for my mother. She lost her best friend and soul mate of 50+ years. She lives in their house and sleeps in their bed. She has to walk by his chair and see his DVR filled with ridiculous reality shows. She is stronger than she ever thought possible. I hurt for her. I wonder when this open, gaping wound will begin to heal.
So two weeks after losing my Dad, we celebrate Father’s Day. But I will always celebrate Dad. I couldn’t have had a better father. I thank God daily for giving me 31 years with him. I just wish I had more. But even if I had 70 years with him, I’d still want more. He was that fantastic!
I will live my life the way my dad would want. My decisions in life really were made to make that man proud. I just need to keep striving to do just that. I love you, Daddy! Happy Father’s Day!
Obituary: Sammy “Sam” Salvatore Bruno, Sr., age 70, of Pleasant Hill, Missouri, departed this life peacefully at 2:46 p.m. Saturday, June 6, 2015, at Research Hospital in Kansas City surrounded by his loving family. Sam was born March 26, 1945, in Deadwood, South Dakota. He was adopted by Charlie and Dorothy Bruno after the passing of his biological mother during childbirth.
In 1964, Sam graduated from Faith High School in Faith, South Dakota. While in school, he met the love of his life, JaLynn Wilson; on October 24, 1964, they were united in marriage. To this union, four children were born: Charlie, Carrie, Sammy, Jr., and Lisa.
Sam owned and operated Bruno’s Bonding Company until his retirement in 2001. Sam was an active member and leader of the Pleasant Hill Church of Christ and an enthusiastic student of the Bible. He was an avid golfer, bowler, horseman, and loved to sing and play guitar, but the most important aspect of his life was his family.
Sam was preceded in death by his adopted parents, Charlie and Dorothy Bruno, and his biological parents, Delbert and Bernice Day; three brothers, Bud Day, Kenny Day, and Lloyd Day; and two sisters, Doris Jeffries and Bernice Hughes.
He is survived by his wife JaLynn of Pleasant Hill; four children, Charlie (and Allison) Bruno of Rolla, Missouri; Carrie (and Curt) Eaton of Lee’s Summit, Missouri; Sammy (and Jill) Bruno, Jr. of Pleasant Hill, Missouri; and Lisa (and Jeremy) Sickel of Gladstone, Missouri; nine grandchildren, Megan (and Caleb) Plumlee, Emily (and Takota) Anderson, Katie Bruno, Jackson Eaton, Samara Bruno, Abby Eaton, Anna Mae Bruno, Maxwell Sickel, and Harper Sickel; two step-grandchildren, Rachel Schick and Garrett Schick; two sisters, Helen Packer of Rapid City, South Dakota, and Mary (and Dick) Deyoe of Belle Fourche, South Dakota; several cousins, nieces and nephews; other relatives, and a host of many friends