The Lessons We’ll Learn from Dad

My father, Richard F. Torrey (known to friends as Dick), passed away yesterday, Sunday, September 30th. He was a remarkable man who led a remarkable life.

I tell you this because part of Dad’s legacy is going to be the healthcare and advocacy lessons we learned along the way. Dad as patient. Daughter as advocate. A treasure trove of experiences.

Over the years I took note of the many – MANY – experiences we had through his health journey. But I haven’t written about many of them…. As long as Dad was still alive, there was privacy to consider and maintain. He and I talked about that many times. Something notable would happen, we’d wend our way through it, then he would tell me, “Write that one down – it will be a good one to share someday.”

Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1986 – yes, you read that right – 26 years ago. (By the way – that was before the PSA test existed for diagnosis.) He had surgery that year, but some of those cancer cells escaped. So Dad dealt with the disease for the next 26 years. You can imagine what we learned along the way about the healthcare system – both good and bad.

He also had cataracts, and lost his sight in his left eye after botched cataract surgery. More lessons. And spinal stenosis – his first experience with chronic pain – which led to surgery in 2011. Still more lessons.

Further, he was Mom’s caregiver as she transitioned through her heart problems and pacemaker implantation, then her Alzheimer’s disease. Mom’s experience provided lessons, too. They are on the list.

Losing a parent is so difficult. That’s a universal truth, isn’t it? Many of you have experienced the grief and the sadness when your parent has passed. You know how it is to be working on something seemingly unrelated when all of a sudden the sadness hits and you have to take a few moments to collect yourself – then move on.

And so it is.

Dad was a very generous man, right up until his last very difficult days. His generosity included his willingness for me to talk about our lessons learned once he passed. And so I shall. Watch for them over time. We’ll be learning from him for years.

Rest in Peace, Dad. I love you, and thank you for being the generous you.

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18 thoughts on “The Lessons We’ll Learn from Dad”

  1. Dear Trisha,

    So sorry to learn about the loss of your dad. May your memories comfort you and may his memory be for a blessing!

    With warm regards,

  2. Dear Trisha:
    I am so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing, I knew he was ill ,but it is always difficult when that day comes. My dad passed just two months ago, as you know…I miss him so much, every day there is something that reminds me of him, and of those last months together.
    I admire your ability to write about it so pubically , and so soon. I have not been able to do that yet.
    My thoughts are with you ..
    In Peace and Love

  3. my heart goes out to you not only today but everyday for thre work you do. You help the helpers learn to help ,.

    when you give that a thought yu see how noble and necessary the work is.

    You pop was a very handsome man and I see from where his daughtter gets her good looks.

    Your realtionship with dad seems to be very good and that will last all of your lifetime – that is one of his gifts to you.

    thanks for being a friend to me and so many others

  4. Trisha,

    So sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and others whose lives were touched by your father’s life.

    Linda Carpenter

  5. I am so sorry for your loss, Trisha. Your Dad sounds like a wonderful man and a true inspiration – bless him for 26 yrs of cancer survivorship! Sending warm thoughts to you & your family and wishing you strength and comfort in the days ahead.



  6. Dear Trisha,

    Rest and take care of yourself…and remember that many thoughts and prayers are with you!. How fortunate you are to have had a close relationship with your dad! May his face always shine upon you and give you peace.

    Warmest Regards,

  7. Dear Trisha,

    I sending you my profound condolences and a warm hug. I’m so sorry for your loss. No matter how prepared we think we might be, we never are and it’s still a shock. Your Dad must have been quite a man! Just look at his amazing offspring.

    Elisabeth Russell

  8. Dear Trisha,

    What a wonderful gift your father was to you and you to him! That is a lasting legacy!
    Thinking of you,

  9. Dear Trisha,

    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your dad. But what a beautiful legacy he leaves you…leaves us all. Thank you for being willing to share his stories. Love and prayers,

    Crystal Jones

  10. Dear Trisha,

    I’m sorry for your loss. Your dad looked like quite a great man. We will gain lots of knowledge from both your experiences. I lost my mother this past August. She was 89 and suffered with dementia. She was on hospice
    homecare at my home for a little over a year. Mom lived with us for the last 5 years of her life. I have learned lots from that whole experience as well. Your words of encouragement in advocacy have helped greatly.
    Prayers are with you.

    Donna Levine

  11. Trisha,

    So sorry for your loss. Your father sounds like a wonderful man and was lucky to have you at his side. I am sure he is smiling down on you now with such great pride knowing that you are making a difference for patients.
    Keep his legacy strong.


  12. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. You and your father are very generous to share your experiences with us when the time comes. It will be a wonderful legacy to pass on. I so appreciate your writing and insight. It is because of you that I am now in a graduate program to become a patient advocate. Thank you for paving the way.

  13. Trisha I am deeply sorry for your loss. May your Dad’s spirit, strength, kindness and love comfort you as you move forward. What a gift to now be able to share his experiences and learn from them. Many blessings to you and your family.

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