Friday, July 8, 2016

How Disneyland Brought Joy to My Dying Father

Reasons why I believe Disneyland "saved" my Dad's life

I can't believe it's been three months now since my dad passed away and not a day goes by where I do not think of him. I miss him so dearly. May 7, 2016 would have been his 73rd birthday.

Three years ago, he received a "clean bill of health" from his doctor and that declaration renewed his sense of living, so to speak. One day he told me and my brother he wanted to go to Disneyland as it had been years since his last visit. We arranged to get him signed in on May 26, 2013 and it would prove to be one of the best days of not only his life, but ours!
(Back: Me, Ariana and Dad. Front: Kalissa and Kailah)
Here are the fondest memories I will cherish from our visit, that made my dad feel so alive, proving there IS something about Disneyland that truly appeals to people of all ages and walks of life, making them feel like kids again:

1) No rest for the weary. We arrived mid-morning and my dad never once asked for a wheelchair. He would walk everywhere at both Disney California Adventure and Disneyland. We would ask him constantly throughout the day if he wanted assistance and each time he would shake his head and bellow a resounding "No." He even opted to stand in the sometimes 50-60-minute stand by lines, again never complaining and never showing signs of fatigue.

2) Not quitting time yet. We were prepared to call it an early day or evening should dad say he was ready to go home. But remember what I said earlier, that we started mid-morning? Well, we would go all the way up to midnight before heading home. Yes! You read that correctly! Midnight. He must have had FOMO (fear of missing out, where I get it from, apparently) and wanted to take it all in. I believe he knew his time on Earth was nearing an end and he would likely not come back to Disneyland after that day. It was the best display of perseverance, determination, and adventure I had ever witnessed in my life.

3) No brown bag lunches. Even though he had a clean bill of health from his doctor and was still on a diabetic diet, he didn't let that deter him. He would eat burgers, fries, churros, popcorn, and ice cream along with the rest of us. It was great to see him enjoy in these simple delectable pleasures.

4) Turbulence ahead. I will never forget watching my dad ride Hollywood Tower of Terror, California Screamin', Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and the Matterhorn, to name a few. You could hear him scream and yell with delight, just like a child. It was therapeutic, not only for him, but for all of us.

What I wouldn't give to see my dad taking in all that the wonders of the Disneyland's Magic Kingdom again, but knowing he's in a much bigger, brighter and lovelier MAGIC KINGDOM brings a sense of security to me.

Thanks Disney for making these memories happen!


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