Missing out on life events at home, is a hard part of the Peace Corps Experience….

Frank Edward Wandell
May 17, 1928 – April 19, 2018

My dad passed away yesterday. He recently suffered a head injury and a series of strokes, and he was ready to go. I wasn’t there to hold his hand, kiss his cheek or smell his old-spice after shave. But in his last minutes, I talked to him over the phone. I like to think that he heard me.  
I told him that I appreciated all of his support over the years. He wasn’t crazy about my college major, my choice of jobs through my 20’s, or my independent, ideal, liberal ideas. But he listened and tried to support with some sage advice. That was his job. He was being a dad. As a lifelong mechanic, he could fix anything. From him, I learned how to work hard for what you want, solve problems, always be practical, and understand how an amortization table can really increase the value of a loan. He proved that to me when I bought my first car from him.  
Although Dad wasn’t the kind of guy to play on the floor with his children, I told him that his greatest gift to me was his time during our family vacations. We spent hours together on our boat, in our big Cadillac, or in our motorhome. I used to sit up on the front seat of the Winnebago, as his co-pilot, in charge of the route. I’d get us to Yellowstone or the Gulf Coast, navigating the maps and campground guides along the way. At night, we’d sit around the campfire, watching the stars above. From my dad, I gained a lot of confidence, a sense of responsibility, a love for the outdoors, boats, and travel, and many special memories along the way.
I thanked him for being a good role-model. My dad was the compassionate and sensitive one of the family. He lived his life as a good citizen of the community, joining many civic organizations and making life better for others. He taught me how to get involved, put myself out there and get things done. My dad loved being social, it was a great platform to show off his incredible wit and comic one-liners. I’m not as funny as my dad, but I’ve dedicated my life to the betterment of my world. I’m a lot like my Dad.
In the few minutes that I talked to him, I told him all of this and more. I told him that it was OK for him to just let go. To go in peace. To know that his legacy will carry on in all of us. I told him I loved him. I asked him to say “Hi” to Mom for me.  
In the time that it took my sister to carry the phone out of the room and hang it up, my dad passed away. I was the last person to talk to him. Even though I’m here, I’m so lucky I got to be there.
I’m going to miss you, Dad.