Life's a roller-coaster

Life's a roller-coaster



Becky Walz
News Editor



So many times you hear the phrase “God never gives you more than you can handle,” and that may be true, but he sure does test individuals throughout life.

Those who know me know that July has been a month FULL of ups and downs.

For years we have lived four houses from my parents in Calmar. Mom and Dad never knew when one of my kids would just stop by to say hi or call for a ride to or from somewhere. It was usually Dad who jumped in the car.

When my girls spent every day all day at the pool before they could drive, it was Dad who would wait until the 3 p.m. break to take them popcorn, candy bars, or cookies, and a pop or water.

He always seemed to know what everyone needed and took care of them.

On July 2, Dad had a mild heart attack.

During the next week, my mom, brother and I waited through first an angiogram and then bypass surgery.

My dad has always been a rock, and to see him in the hospital struggling to get his health back is something I wish I could forget.

Simply put – I wanted my daddy back. I have always been Daddy’s little girl.

As I longed to be with my dad as much as possible through this rough time, I also had so much to celebrate.

Llike my dad was, I am a staunch supporter of South Winn athletics, especially this year’s baseball team (I think every doctor and nurse at Gundersen Health Systems in LaCrosse knew how well the team was doing).

After every game I called my dad in the hospital and told him how Andre (the team’s first baseman) and the team had done.

We celebrated Andre’s Senior Night and the team claiming the UIC title outright, knowing Dad was awaiting bypass surgery.

As I visited with dad in hospital he mentioned several times that he wished that he could be at those games, and he knew he wouldn’t be well enough to see the team enter the postseason.

On July 16, Dad was finally strong enough to come home – for a few days.

Alex, Andre, Ashley, and Allison all took time to see him and talk with him, as did my husband.

My mom cherished those two days at home with him before complications forced him to return to the hospital on July 18. I spent that Friday evening with him, and my brother spent Saturday with him.

Saturday, July 19, is a day I will never forget. I had left Ashley’s swim meet in Manchester early to ensure I would be in New Hampton for South Winn’s District Final game.

On the road alone, thinking how much Dad was missing, I received the phone call that has changed our family’s life.

My dad had passed away.

I sat alongside the road sobbing and wondering “How can this be?” and “Just how do I tell my children?”

Together, Jeremy and I made the decision to continue to the baseball game to support Andre and his fellow teammates on the road to State – knowing Dad was probably already sitting in the outfield.

Make no doubt about it – it was difficult to sit in the stands knowing that following the game we would have to break the news to Andre about his grandpa, but we were there.

South Winn defeated New Hampton, 7-4, and the team was celebrating its next step.

As the team headed to the dugout following a round of photos, Alex pulled his “little” brother into the outfield to break the news.

As I walked off the field in tears of joy and sorrow, I looked over my shoulder to see Andre sink to his knees in tears as Alex broke the news.

My heart broke.

Several minutes went by as I watched the two brothers hug and console each other. Andre’s girlfriend went out to help him with the pain, and together the three slowly made their way back to the dugout.

In the following days tears flowed throughout the house as we grieved for my dad and the kids’ grandpa, but life continued.

On Tuesday, July 22, the SW baseball team still had some work to do, facing Eagle Grove in the Substate game, winning 11-1.

For the first time in school history South Winn will compete at the State Baseball Tournament. The celebration was great for one night.

We gathered with immediate family on Wednesday to say our final goodbyes to Dad, and it was hard, but we still have each other — and an angel.

As a family we have to cherish the stories Dad shared over the years, be thankful for the years we had together, remember what he taught us about living life to the fullest, and have faith that God will get us through.

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You have my sympathy for your loss. I to have recently lost my parents and know how hard it can be. The pain will slowly fade but the love and memories they shared with you will always be there. 

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