Kelly and I lost our wonderful Dad, Bob Connelly, yesterday. Many of you know that Kelly is my sister and she moderates the KIT List with me — along with our dear friend Amy Plunkett. It was his example of keeping in touch and looking out for friends that was the inspiration for the KIT List.
I’m so thankful now that I wrote that tribute to my Dad on the blog a few weeks ago, so that he knew how much his influence and modeling has extended to others. If you’d like to see that blog post, it’s at: http://budurl.com/bobconnelly
His death was actually very swift and unexpected. Although he was contending with Parkinson’s, he ended up suffering a massive brain hemorrhage that was unrelated. Thankfully, our family all made it in time to the ER at Stanford to be by his side and say goodbye and pray. He was a man of great faith, and our pastor rushed over to bless him with Last Rites.
I deeply appreciate all the kind messages so many of you sent when I posted the blog about him last month, and I tried to respond to as many as I could.
The important thing is that I shared your comments with him, and it really made him feel wonderful to know that his simple concept was able to help others, too. He never complained throughout his various physical challenges, so when said he had such a painful headache, we thought it might be big.
I am so very sad, yet I have peace that this is God’s perfect timing. This is still so fresh since he died yesterday at 4:00, but I am grateful for being graced with this truly incredible man in my life. He is my hero.
He and my Mom have been the absolute best parents and their loving marriage and great faith have been the bedrock for our family’s happiness. His last words before he became unconscious at home yesterday was to tell my Mom how lucky he was to have married her. They had an extraordinary marriage, which I attribute to what I call the “thousand little kindnesses.” They were so thoughtful and good to each other, and to our whole family. A recent example was how he went to put a footrest under my Mom’s feet while at Thanksgiving, even though he was having a harder time walking. He gave my shoulders a back rub, even though his hands were so weak, just because I wasn’t feeling great. He was still cheerful and making jokes with the ER staff the night before he died (he was sent home after they checked him out thoroughly and said it was just a severe headache. I called 911 the next day, so it’s important to follow your gut).
I’m writing this to share that if you have anything you wanted to say or do for a parent or loved one, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet, I wanted to encourage you to do it now. I am so very relieved that I got that blog post out while he was still alive, so that he would know how much he meant to me and to others. Time is precious, and you just never know how short some times might be. We were lucky to have him for the time we did, and we were prepared for a long haul with Parkinson’s. My Dad will be greatly missed by our family and friends — he was my rock, my biggest supporter who encouraged me, and loved and believed in his family in the most loving way. My solace is that we will all be reunited forever again.
I am so glad that he was able to hear from the KIT List community before he died so suddenly. It meant a lot to him to know that his simple way of reaching out to friends and keeping in touch over the years has had a ripple effect.
Thank you all for the many supportive and encouraging emails over the years, it has meant a lot to Kelly, Amy and me. This incredible community is so very special, and knowing that we are all connected and have the power to help each other and reach out to each other is what it’s all about.
Our time here on Earth is brief, no matter what our age. In this special Christmas season, and for every day, I hope that you get a chance to be with your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. I will miss my Dad terribly, but I have no regrets. I’m so grateful that he graced my life as he did.
God bless you all,