Saying Goodbye to My Hero
On Monday, January 18th my father, Charles Popper passed away, to head to his heavenly reward. He died at the age of 85. He was my hero and role model
I went down to Florida on January 7th to be with my Mom and Dad. I had 6 great days with them. At that point my father was under the care of hospice and it was all about keeping him comfortable. He had moments of clarity but slept a lot. I was charged with lifting him from his bed to wheelchair and from his wheelchair to reclining chair. He was able to help a little by holding my neck on Thursday and Friday, but as Saturday came and went he had no strength.
Saturday night, January 9th he complained that his hands were cold. I was roasting from the heat! I kept near the sliding glass door so I could open it and have a little bit of air. I hadn't packed any shorts. I'm used to Maine temperatures, not Florida's, even in January. I went to Walmart Sunday morning and saw an associate and said I had to ask him an odd question. He looked at me and said "I work at Walmart.. There are no odd questions!" I laughed remembering the People of Walmart pictures I have seen online. I asked if he had any mittens. Now it was 42 degrees outside, I'm there in a short sleeve shirt and light fleece jacket thinking this is the most comfortable I've been since I arrived in Florida, but all the Floridians were wearing all their clothes and I was concerned if they fell they wouldn't be able to get up! He told me they had gloves but no mittens, so being a resourceful Mainer, I bought my Dad a couple pair of socks!
I returned home to my parent's house and told my Dad I had bought him a pair of Maine Made Mittens. He was so happy. I put the snuggy socks on him and his hands were warm. He kept murmuring that his hands were warm and that they were Maine made! It was a white lie, and I'm sure that Dad forgives me.
My Dad had been sick for a long time, although he would recover and get a bit better. In fact my parents celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary on June 13, 2020. On the occasion of their 60th, my Dad said he was giving my Mom his Eagle Scout Badge to wear today for putting up with him for 60 years. Back in 2018 we celebrated their 60th Anniversary a year early as my Dad wasn't well.
My father was the General Manager of the Sonesta Hotel in Bermuda. He was there from 1973-1978 and I went to Saltus High School there.
He was the General Manager and Regional Vice President of the Sonesta in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1978-1981 before heading back to Bermuda as President and General Manger from 1981 to 1989.
By his side was my Mom his constant companion
They loved Vermont, where they had a house in Quechee, which they bought in 1978
When I had cancer my Dad and Mom spent a month with us in Bangor in the middle of winter, while I was undergoing radiation and chemo. My father never strayed too far from the propane fire place and he had a special blanket that he was constantly wrapped in.
When he was up here he discovered Little Debbie Cakes, specifically their Christmas Tree Cakes. This past November I sent him a Amazon delivery of 30 of them! It was our own little Advent countdown as we would each have one at the same time on the Alexa Show. We would have dessert together!
Before I started working in radio, I was a hotelier, like my Dad. I worked in the hotel industry for 17 years, and that led me to my wife in Block Island, Rhode Island and then subsequently to Bangor, where we have been for 35 great years.
My father taught me to work hard, probably a lesson I learned too well. He never did something half way. If you were going to do something you needed to commit until you succeeded. His motto was it was ok to stay out late, but you had to be the first one in at work the next day.
Even though we have been separated by miles, we were never far away. Through the Alexa Show, my wife Bonnie and I were able to video chat with my parents at a minimum daily and sometimes more often!
I miss him dearly and there is a hole in my heart, but I am strengthened by the fact that I know he is in heaven and can and will talk to him daily.