Bernie passed in March

Lessons Learned through Love

May 18, 2024 at 3:10 p.m.
Bernard Sadowski tipping his hat to his many friends and loving family.
Bernard Sadowski tipping his hat to his many friends and loving family. Sharon Holladay

Lessons Learned through Love

I recently lost my father. He was 84 years old. His passing brought the reality that both my parents were now in heaven. My mom had passed at the age of 66 from COPD. They had been married 48 years when dad’s angel went to heaven.

Bernie and his wife Rita

I always had a close relationship with both my parents. They were supportive, loving parents and very devoted to each other. Dad bravely faced many career and health challenges, notably achieving a Ph.D. at the age of 38, and later undergoing eight major surgeries and multiple hospitalizations between 2006 to 2021.

However, he was never quite the same after losing Mom in 2008. He felt lost and his confidence deteriorated. He became very reliant on others, especially me and my husband. I was his support, and my husband was my support as we navigated countless health issues, doctor and hospital visits, and tours to many care facilities when Dad finally became too lonely in the family home. Most of his health problems were brought on by years of immobility. So, as I watched his body slowly shut down, I vowed to keep active as long as I could!

As I’ve reflected since his passing, I have been grateful for lessons learned from my parents and through experience. Dad was always grateful for celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary with many trips that year because Mom didn’t live to see their 50th. One of his favorite phrases was “carpe diem,” seize the day. He expressed the importance of not putting off important things, because you might not get another chance.

Dad made me his POA immediately upon Mom’s collapse. He prepared me along the way, for this time, to become Executor of his estate. This lesson was perhaps his most valuable. Not only am I grieving, but the duties of Executor need to be done. But we had been “cleaning up” his finances over the years together, so there are no unknowns and little to be done. He was preparing me and helping make things easier for me. I miss our chats, having him hold my hands in prayer and saying “I love you more” during our weekly visits. But I was not scared to become his Executor. He prepared me well. We all need to do this for our loved ones. I think it is our duty.

Sharon Holladay is the daughter of Bernie Sadowski whose book Bernie’s Bits was published by Ariele Huff under her Candy Bar Books brand. See the book at:

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