Updated: Jun 7, 2018
This week, I had the pleasure of celebrating my Dad's retirement with him, his colleagues, friends, family and patients.
On Wednesday, his nurse Joanne, who has worked with him for over 20 years, threw him a going away party for the patients to be able to drop in and say their goodbyes. He wasn't very keen on the idea, being someone who shys away from attention, but she put her foot down when patients started wanting to book appointments to say goodbye with no good health reason to have said appointments.
She ordered a cake, decorated the office with sailboat-themed decorations (because the sailboat pictures on every wall weren't already enough!) and had each patient write him a message and take a picture with him so that she could put together a scrapbook.
It was really something to get to meet these people who were strangers to me but whose lives had clearly been impacted by my father's medical care, guidance, kindness, and as was written in many of the cards he received, his "no nonsense" attitude.
These patients expressed gratitude and told stories, some stretching back over more than 30 years to when they had joined my Dad's new practice, and some could only express their appreciation by drawing him a picture and giving him a hug.
By far the cutest were these two very young little girls who made him a giant card and performed by reading it out loud to him.
At one point I overheard my mother telling a story of how she remembered when we were young, and one of us was sick, she would sometimes be on her own because he was on call and had to take care of others people's children. I can't even imagine how abandoned she might have felt in those moments, but we all know that dedication requires sacrifice, and she too was able to meet these people and hear how taken care of they felt by my Dad over the years. And how taken care of they still felt now that he had handed over the practice and found them a new doctor.
When he got home, he sat quietly in his new backyard outdoor lazyboy chair (is he ready for retirement, or what?) with a glass of wine in his hand and read through each heartfelt card.
The next night, despite his greatest pleas in the months that led up, we surprised my Dad with a retirement party for his nearest and dearest. We were in cahoots with his staff and the doctor who is taking over his practice to keep him busy and distracted and it worked. He had no idea that we were planning this special night for him.
We decorated the house with the many, many cards that he received from his patients, and had a nice low key dinner. Before the cake was served, Joanne made a beautiful and sentimental speech that was the perfect way to end this chapter of my Dad's life.
At the end of the night, when everything was cleaned up and everyone went home, I truly felt like I was witnessing the start of a new chapter for my parents. Having recently started a new chapter in my own journey, I felt especially proud of them for hitting this milestone.
And now, we're just over a week away from Tamara & Will's wedding, so time to move forward to the next Zur's major life event!