(Real-time Entry)

A little after 9 this morning I decided to crawl into Dad’s bed and snuggle up with him to some of his favorite music.  I sang the Beach Boys “Fun Fun Fun” into his ear, reminiscing about his ‘59 Corvette and how cool he was to allow me and my high school friend Jill to learn to drive a stick shift while grindin’ away on its gears!

Then “Barbara Ann” came on my iPod and I sang even harder and happier.  I pounced Sparky around on his shoulder to the diddy, lightly kept the beat on his chest with my other hand, and said joyously, “Daddy-O, it’s you, me and Sparky dancing together – just like old times!”  J  And by the time I looked back up into his eyes half way through the song, I realized he was no longer breathing.  I looked up at his caregiver sitting by him on the other side (Veronica, the amazing and devoted caregiver who has been by his side at every possible moment), and I asked her, “Did he just stop breathing?”  She said yes.  We stared at him for what seemed like a long time and then I incredulously blurted out to Veronica, “Did he seriously just die in my arms while dancing to ‘Barbara Ann’???” Veronica just slowly nodded her head yes.

I seriously couldn’t have written this script!  Daddy literally died in his little girls’ arms with Sparky dancing on his shoulder and his favorite music playing in his ear!  What a way to go, Daddy-O!!!  XOXOXO  I am so, so, so proud of you!!!  What a way to live your life – and what a fabulous way to go!  I am so PROUD and LUCKY to be your daughter. 

I was then joined by my mom, Frank Jr. & Amy, Todd & Lynae, and Frankie and Ashton as we all said our final goodbyes.  Hearts were heavy but we were so thankful that God heard our prayers to let Daddy be in peace.

It’s a sunny Spring day with not a cloud in the sky – what a perfect background for his final magic trick!  And I know his mom and dad (my Beeka and Papa) welcomed him home with lots of wet kisses and warm hugs, his brother-in-laws Denny Roux and Jack McLean cracked him a cold beer and had his golf clubs polished and ready to go, our schnauzer Scruffy jumped in his lap ready to go for a run-run on the beach in Hilton Head with him, and Elvis performed a special, full tilt concert for him that began with “Hound Dog”!  The only thing better would be the Big Bopper singing “Chantilly Lace” as an encore…

… and the precious memory that my beloved Daddy-O died happy in my arms.

P.S. Visitation and funeral services for Dad will be held at Heeney-Sundquist Funeral Home in downtown Farmington.  Dates and times are yet to be announced.  http://www.heeney-sundquist.com

25 Responses to “April 27, 2010 – FINAL DISAPPEARING ACT”

  1. Deb said

    I am so glad that your dad was wrapped in your loving arms when he made his transition. I am sure that his heart was smiling as you sang to him. What a peaceful way to go! Your dad was a lucky man to have you as his daughter, and the rest of his family, who took such loving care of him.
    We will all miss him so much but know that he is in such a better place now. I know he will be looking down on you and watching over you always!! (so you better be good!!) 🙂
    Love ya cuz!! xoxoxo

  2. Amanda Davis said

    Love you all, hugging you all. So glad that his suffering (and yours) is over and that his “final magic trick” was so peaceful, loving and wonderful. I think that most people would dream of passing over to the other side in exactly this way. What a blessing for all. Frank’s energy and joie de vivre live on in my heart!

  3. Aunt Kathy said

    A perfect goodbye to a perfect man and a perfect ending to a perfect life. I loved him lots.

  4. Kelly said

    Peace at last….

  5. Carol Seemann said

    I am so so sorry to hear of Frank’s passing. What a wonderful man he was and fortunate are we that were lucky to have known him. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  6. Pat & Tom McGarrie said

    Hi dear friends,

    I felt so sorry that we won’t see that handsome face any more in this life—–but, felt that the angels came and escorted Frank to a better life where there is no more sorrows, pain or wars. I feel like you do—-that he is in the arms of his parents and liked the idea of golfing and meeting with old friends in the great beyond.

    I said a great prayer all last week (every day) for Frank, that the dear Lord will be there welcoming him with open arms and telling him that “up there” they needed a great guy to get those “others” up and moving and grooving to the music.


    Love, Pat and Tom McGarrie

  7. Ayn Luther said

    Tom and I are so sorry. We can remember the day your Mom and Dad were married. We can remember when each of you children were born, and now we will remember the day your dad began his new journey. As much as he was blessed in his life, we are equally blessed to have the Firek family in our lives. Life is never the same after you lose a life long friend, but eventually we will all meet again. It was a perfect ending for a noble and gentle giant.

    “When a “man” does a piece of work which is admired by all we say that it is wonderful; but when we see the changes of day and night, the sun, the moon and the stars in the sky, and the changing seasons upon the earth, with their ripening fruits, anyone must realize that it is the work of someone more powerful than man.” The power of God is working within your family, and all the wonderful memories will bring peace.

    God’s speed Frank!

    Love, Tom and Ayn

  8. "Team Drahnak" said

    My family will never be the same for knowing Frank Senior. He was a good man who made a difference with his smile everywhere he went.

    You will be missed Frank 😉

    What a blessing it is to “BE” there with him while he took his last breath. He trusted you to be there when it happened, what an honor.

    Kris, Daniel, Amelia and Abbey Drahnak

  9. Ray Davis said

    The best memories possible of my friend Frank. From the old Sorrows days to a more recent Fort Myers visit with Frank & Fran.
    The best to you at this time Fran & Family.
    Ray Davis
    Ft. Myers, Fl.

  10. Laura Porter said

    Fran and family, Rick and I send our blessings your way …lots of hugs …its such a blessing that Frank did his final act with such a heart felt way… music and his Baby Girl …God sent his Angels to Fran… it’s so sad and yet such a relief… and a blessing…Thank You God
    Thank You, Frank, for the Joy that you have shared in so many peoples lives…
    we will miss you but your memories will stay with us forever
    Laura & Rick

  11. Denise said

    Frank Sr. and Scruffy what a beautiful pair of angels….

  12. Denise Lewis said

    Thank you Joleen for sharing your dad’s last moments with us… Broadway couldn’t have written a better ending. All my love and prayers are with your family.

  13. Lisa Trano said

    I just read your experience with your dad dying in your arms and I’m sad and amazed all at the same time. It was an incredible read. I loved it. Thank you.
    You are an amazing woman!

  14. Ed Pigeon said

    My Mom used to say it like the song “only the good die young”. Only his body was older not his heart. God brought him home before he could get old. He will be a gentle man missed.

    • Ed, your phone call the other day (or last week) truly put a smile on Dad’s lips! That was SO kind and amazing of you to think to call him toward the end. For the record, he TOTALLY knew who you were and he and us ALL appreciated your call and compassion!!

  15. Brian Zarek said

    Frank slipped away from this Earth as he came into it. Conceived in love. He will be greatly missed here. My condolences to his family and friends. Joleen, The way you danced your final Father/Daughter dance was touching and so sweet. It was your sweetness of spirit and deep love of your father that allowed him to move on. WOW! now that’s the true essence of love.


    Brian Zarek

  16. Sheila said

    I did not know Mr. Firek. I began reading this blog after reading in the paper about the horrible theft your family endured from the two men your whole family trusted. Thank you so very much for writing this bog – I have learned so very much about this horrible disease.
    May Frank rest in peace.

  17. Kay (Lezotte) Walters said

    My deepest sympathies go out to all of you. Frank was one of the Happiest, Most Sincere people I have ever known. What a beautiful story. Love and Prayers to all of you during this time.

  18. Veronica aka Scooby Doo said

    As I read this, I got all emotional again! Then I realized – we all should be smiling because we are celebrating a wonderful life Frank (My Scooby) lived! He was a wonder Father, Husband, Friend, Uncle, Granddad, and so on! I know I feel Honored to have known a great man like Frank! He will TRULY be MISSED! And we all should keep our memories of him close to our hearts! Joleen, Ms Frances, Frank Jr, Todd, and the rest of the family, I will continue 2 pray for you all! Love u guys!!

    • Veronica ~

      I don’t think we would have gotten through Dad’s last 1.5months as gracefully if it hadn’t been for you. Angels truly sent you down to receive Frank and nurse him back to heaven! What luck for The Fireks that you came into our lives when we were the most down and out and needed a loving, helping hand. XOXO

      ~ J

  19. Michele said

    Joleen – you and your family have been close in our prayers this past week….

    I was all set to be depressed, but somehow after reading your story, you made me realize that it is so special to be loved. What a great life to live.

    Much love and hugs to you and Todd, and to all of your family.

    Michele & Lisa

  20. Mary Jean (Gauthier)Steel said

    I haven’t seen your mom and dad for several years, but I hurt when I read of your dad’s passing. We attended school together, married a week apart, but have had little contact since then. I read with interest all your entries through this dreadful disease, and truly appreciate your sharing such private events. My heart and prayers are with you and your family. Your dad was a truly wonderful gentleman.

  21. hi joleen.

    man, well… it’s times like these that i hate being so very far away! uncle frank — yes, he will always be that to me, was such an inspiration, a gentleman, and a very special and blessed spirit. somehow, the universe in all it’s magic, always seems to know the perfect time for these things to happen and as it should, the right soundtrack to be playing in the background.

    i feel so incredibly grateful to have known frank and been in his company so often! i will never forget his smile or joy to all things in life. i take comfort, with you, in knowing that he has friends waiting for him… ready to greet him with a cold one and open arms.

    please know that my spirit and thoughts are with you and your family right now and thank you so much for having the courage to share these experiences and enabling me to somehow, though virtually, be there.

    love, with big hugs!!

  22. barb welcer said

    Fran, Joleen, Frankie and Todd,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Frank is surely an amazing man, husband and father who will be missed by those whose lives he touched. My heart has ached for all of you as you have so graciously shared your journey with Frank and this thing called Alzheimers. Much peace in the coming days, I will be sending love and healing tomorrow especially and will be there in spirit. Much love and blessings.
    PS. Joleen, I will see you at Sundance Festival…yes it will be that good, and your Dad will continue to spread light and love through your film.

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