You learn a lot about people as they lay dying; you learn how they lived. You learn this from the friends they have left, their family and the bits and pieces of pictures and notes you find along the way when searching for Army Discharge papers, wedding pictures and mementos of long ago trips to the Jersey shore.
You learn that your dad wasn’t just the man who took you to the Central Park Zoo for what seemed like every Saturday, or shared a special treat at Dairy Queen with you or who seemed to know how to navigate every street in New York City. He was also the man who served as Chief Stewart at Standard Brands factory and fought to give the workers severance pay when no one ever thought the company would close, which it did after his 30 years of service.
It was difficult watching him lose his eyesight and most of his hearing. So instead of the television he turned to the radio as his companion. And as his ability to walk left him and sadness filled his eyes, it was difficult to watch his life slip away from him. When he spent time at a nursing home he still thanked everyone who helped him and slipped back into a time that was less difficult, when he was in the service, growing up with his brother Mickey on First Street and his years of marriage to my mother who had passed on ten years before.
I believe there is a heaven and I believe he is there with my mom, my Uncle Mickey, my cousin Maurice and his parents, Cecelia and Marcy. I believe he did the best job he knew how as my dad. He taught me a lot. I love him and I miss him. Until we meet again, Daddy. I am forever your little girl.
Daughter of Maurice J. Fitzgibbons, Jr.
Who passed on May 13, 2012