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Friday morning, my father took his last breath, ending a multi-year battle with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and the struggle to retain the brilliant man he once was and will ever remain in the eyes of those who knew and loved him, which was pretty much everyone he met.

Milton Deitch avoided confrontation, always reaching out with a calming voice and a helping hand. He loved our synagogue (which he helped found some 50 years ago), he loved medicine (he was a highly respected urologist in Atlanta), he loved Daufuskie Island (he traded in a beloved lakeside home for an ocean view), he loved golf (he scored 2 hole in ones during his career) and he loved his family (supporting each of his boys as they pursued diverse lives and careers, none in medicine).

And he loved our mother deeply with over 50 years of beautiful marriage.

The last couple years have defininately tested the vows, "for better or for worse" and "in sickness and in health", because as this merciless disease ate at his mental and physical being, we were all helpless at watching our father disappear in front of our eyes. A private yet social man, he prided himself on being organized and in control, not easy raising 4 boys. I can only imagine the difficulty and frustration he experienced as everything he worked and lived for faded away.

The only silver in the cloud was that before too long, he wasn't aware of what he, what we, had lost.

That was small comfort though.

As he was driven off Daufuskie Island for the last time to move into a memory care center, in a increasingly rare moment of lucidity, he remarked, "It wasn't supposed to happen like this."

No it wasn't. Fathers are supposed to live forever in a child's eyes. Doctors are supposed to heal, not need healing. Adventurers are not supposed become immobile. The spiritual are not supposed to be unable to pray. And in a perfect world, the best among us would live and lead as long as they were needed.

We weren't done needing him.

And we will miss him greatly.

But more important, we will remember him lovingly and forever.

My father was very private about his investments. I did not get to see portfolios until they were transferred to his mother name and taken over by a wealth management company she trusted. Occasionally, we would talk investing and while he didn't really understand The Motley Fool (or the idea of discussing investing in the Motley Fool Community), he was happy that I was happy here.

I only ever took investment advice from him twice. When I was born I was gifted shares of Cesna, and when I was 17, the company was bought out by General Dynamics. Dad let me choose what company to invest the cash in, and I chose Borland International because I was studying Turbo Pascal, Turbo Basic, and Turbo C. The company's development environments were very popular back then, and the stock price went up and up and up.

I asked my dad if I should sell as it hit a high. He said no, you invest for the long term. Sound familiar? Tom & David Gardner were also still in high school. Well, if you know software development history, you know what happened next. Microsoft introduced Quick C and Quick Basic and quickly began stealing market share. Borland tried to expand with the Reflex and Paradox database software, the Quattro Pro spreadsheet program, and the Reflex PIM program, but it didn't help the stock price crumbled and I eventually sold for a loss.

Decades later, my dad encouraged me to take a look at a company called Thornburg Mortgage, a REIT specializing in jumbo mortgages. I bet you can smell where this is going. After Countrywide and Lehman Brothers failed, I asked him if I should sell. He said no, this "thing" is all about poor quality loans and that the jumbo market was built on stable, low risk loans. Nothing to worry about. Within a year, the company was worth pennies on the dollar and ultimately declared bankruptcy. It still lives on my brokerage statement with a 0.0000 value as a reminder.

In both cases, the lessons I learned from my father's investment advice were case studies in what not to do. When a company's investment thesis changes, it's OK to move your money elsewhere. And when the air becomes uraneous, we will all go simultaneous, even if you think your investment has lead lining. Most importantly, I learned to think and invest for yourself. Nobody cares more about your retirement savings more than you do.

I think that's what attracted me to The Motley Fool. And that's the message I try to communicate to other Fools, to take control of their financial and investing lives. And to cherish the time you spend with your loved ones. Because one day you'll blink and they'll be gone.

Fuskie
Who is comforted by the belief that his father's mind and body are now one again...

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Ticker Guide: The Walt Disney Company (DIS), Intuit (INTU), Live Nation (LYV), CME Group (CME), MongoDB (MDB), Trip Advisor (TRIP), Vivendi SA (VIVHY), Mimecast (MIME), DHX Media (DHXM), Royce Micro Capital Trust (RMT)
Disclaimer: This post is non-professional and should not be construed as direct, individual or accurate advice
Disclosure: May own shares of some, many or all of the companies mentioned in this post (tinyurl.com/FuskieDisclosure)
Fool Code of Conduct: https://www.fool.com/legal/the-motley-fools-rules.aspx#Condu...
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