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We  had just finished looking at a studio apartment, in a senior community, that would soon be my 85 year old dad's new home.  As we exited the building he looked to his left and looked down the hill.  He turned to me and said, "I wonder how many times I have walked up that hill".  I looked at his white hair, his slightly stooped shoulders and his laugh lines, and said "probably a lot dad" , "mom was here for 10 years."  My mom had been a resident of the nursing home, that sat above this apartment building, 500 feet further up the hill.  He than turned to me and with a wistful smile said. "yes 10 years and I only missed one day. Hurricane Sandy."   My dad had made the trip to that nursing home for 10 years, 7 days a week, for 10 hours a day, to be with his wife.  He hung out with her, attended activities, watched T.V., shared meals and kept her company.  As her health failed he advocated for her, fed her and ensured she received the care she needed and deserved.  On March 29th 2015, he kissed her goodnight, knowing this may be the last night because her health had deterioated so far.  He received the call in the middle of the night, that his wife of 53 years was no longer of this earth.  Together they had raised 6 kids, welcomed 10 grand kids and lived a full life.  Now he is packing up their home of 50 years, the memories(good and bad) and beginning the next chapter, on his own.  He may have white hair, stooped shoulders and laugh lines but as I heard him say "I only missed one day" "Hurricane Sandy" I once again realized how strong my dad is.  He is and will always be a survivor.  He is the man that gave me my innner strength.  But even the strong need a break every now and then.

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