My dad’s physical death from this earth was Jan 13, 2016 but Alzheimer’s took you from us so much sooner. That fateful moment in time: the fall of 2012.
Life was so cruel to hit you with loss of home, boat and your peace of mind all at once, with the convergence of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. You were a man who worked so hard all his life, not for fame or fortune, but the simple act of making sure everyone you loved was taken care of. I painfully remember you confiding in me that you did not want to be a burden to your family, and together we cried embracing each other on the front stairs of our house in Oceanside.
Your home was returned to its regular state of functionality; arguably your final act of negotiation and persistence as you actively hunted down the contractor everyday on foot to make sure your home was fixed for you and mom. Even up until the end, fixing problems. You were NOT going to accept ‘no’ for an answer and your sheer will got your home completed before all your neighbors.
Your battered boat, The Keeper, was taken by your uncle, who took it to his home with the hopes to salvage it. After many years of tinkering, this labor of love by my father’s uncle, has been restored; the Keeper is in the water this year. I imagine my father is smiling from above, that his prized possession has been returned to its glory.
Unfortunately, the most prized possession of them all, we can not get back. The brevity of your life and the loss of quality of life before you were taken still pains us. It continues to sadden me the milestones you miss as time inevitably moves on without you by our side. Some of them include:
*Mitchell towering at 5’ 7 and 1/2” soon to be a junior in high school
*Samantha graduating from 6th grade soon to be in middle school
*Chip becoming an integral part of our family fabric bringing so much love and joy in our household
While the pandemic has brought us into an era of unknown, we are trying our best to make the best of this uncertainty. It’s been a very challenging headspace these past few months, and during this new slowness in life, I am often struck with the many similarities I have in common with you: my drive, my need for purpose, my desire to help others and fix problems, and the joy I feel when I am with people, talking and enjoying their company.
There was never a day that passed in my life that I did not know how much I was loved and cherished by you; I can only hope that I can leave that indelible mark on my children as one of your many legacies.
I hope to walk this year in your memory at Eisenhower Park on Sunday September 13th, assuming it’s safe to walk.
As always I appreciate your support in any way you can offer: signing a petition, joining us on the walk, making a donation in my dad’s memory. My goal as always is to try to make a difference so other families are not afflicted with the pain of losing their loved ones to this disease, and selfishly to work towards a cure so that no one else in my family is struck with this disease.
Thanking you as always for your continued love and support over these years.
Sharon, Ross, Mitchell, Samantha, Marlene and MarkAug. 2019
It's so strange that Jan 13, 2016 is the day where time stood still....you took your last breaths on this earth. Three and a half years ago... how does time keep moving without you here with us? I hate that significant life events take place and you're not here to k'vell in them. To hear your booming voice, to feel your big bear hugs, and to be enveloped by your endless love and pride in your family, what I wouldn’t do to bottle you and your essence for our family’s prosperity.
It’s this indescribable void that no matter how much time passes, can not be filled.
You should be here to enjoy :
* Mitchell working at his first summer job
* Sam playing travel softball
* Finally getting tenure this year
* The arrival of our puppy Chip Kapitansky
The big and small milestones that you should be here by our side. This disease stole you from us, and I will continue to fight for awareness and raising money to fight this disease.
We walk in your memory on my birthday on September 15th at Eisenhower Park. Please join us and/or donate in my father’s name, Henry Haut.
Thank you always for your continued love and support.
Sharon, Ross, Mitchell, Samantha, Marlene and Mark
They say it gets easier with the passage of time. In some regards there is a grain of truth to that; I don't cry as much when thinking of my dad; but that profound loss seems to deepen with time instead of ease with it.
In a day and age where people live longer than ever before, and where age 70 is the new 60, and 50 is the new 40... I find myself getting more resentful that dad was taken from us too early in life. How can he be gone when there is so much more for him to do and experience? He deserved not only to play the role of parent and for a few years the role of grandparent, but a great grandparent too! His hearty laugh, his endless love and pride in his family should still be here with us in our daily lives. My kids should feel his big bear hugs and be lifted up in his arms and carried like royalty by their Grandpa Henry.
I would love for him to spar with Mitchell in political debate or to talk to him about different time periods of history that fascinate my son.... I would love for him to cheer on Samantha as she fearlessly plays softball or to teach her different movie genres as she took an interest in older films this past year when she studied Audrey Hepburn.
He would have been beyond thrilled that we visited Israel this past year, and that we experienced the beauty and the passion for what he considered his home land. We placed special notes of love and remembrance for him in the Wailing Wall, but we would have rather delivered our messages and chronicled our travels in person upon our return.
So we walk to remember and to honor him. We walk to raise awareness and try to do our part to rid the world of this horrifying disease. He deserved so much more, and we want to make sure others do not share in this terrible fate.
My dad and I always celebrated our birthdays together: mine on the 15th of September and his the day after. The Belmont State Park Walk always fell close if not on our actual birthdays; this year we deviate from our usual walk site since they changed the weekend for it.
Instead we will walk in Eisenhower Park on my birthday, September 15th, and will celebrate my dad then. Please feel free to join us as we walk for him and so many others afflicted by this disease. If you can donate towards this cause again this year, it is always deeply appreciated. Year after year, we are always humbled by the continued love and support by so many of our family and friends.
With much love and gratitude,
Sharon, Ross, Mark, Marlene, Mitchell and Samantha
They say that "time heals all," however, the void I feel in my heart says otherwise. How is it possible for Henry Haut, larger than life persona, to not physically be here with all of us? He deserved more time, and we deserved more "him" in our lives.
It's when I least expect it, I see him in our day-to-day lives. Often it's when I'm driving alone in a car, I'm reminded of the joy he had when he was at the driver's wheel, enjoying the open highway and the tunes of the radio. I now find myself doing the same thing he did when I sat in the passenger seat, reaching out for my child's hand, just to feel connected with them, as I drive. Passing by a marina, looking at the waves in the water, remind me when he was at the helm of The Keeper, in his captain's seat, kvelling over his family as we sat beside him on the flying bridge.
Sometimes I take comfort knowing that his spirit does live on in all of us; I sometimes see this so clearly through his grandchildren. When I see Mitchell avidly watching the History Channel or closely following the news and the trials and tribulations of this past election year, I can't help but smile knowing that Grandpa Haut would be reminded of these same attributes in himself: a natural curiosity and a strong desire to learn about the world we live in. Or when I see Samantha opening up a new toy and she brazenly declares she doesn't needs the instructions because she knows what to do, I know that Grandpa Haut would recognize that similar confidence in himself of a fearless man who would attempt to tackle any task without reading the directions.
I often look for signs that he is still watching over us. Nothing proved this more to me than this past February, when we stumbled upon an open-air market in Cozumel, a port stop on our cruise; it was here when I saw an oversized red heart balloon with the word Love printed on it. At the very moment I saw this balloon, the air filled with the song "You are My Sunshine" which was my song with my dad, the song he sang to me when I was little and when we danced at my wedding. I knew at that moment he was there with us, filled with excitement and love for us as we experienced for the first time his passion: cruising.
Despite these signs, I am still overwhelmed with regret of a life not lived, and more selfishly, one not with us. The milestone moments and the small moments that I know he would have cherished.....
*Mitchell practicing his haftorah at his bar mitzvah
*Samantha playing on the softball field
*On my way to receiving tenure after years of service in education
*Watching all the home improvements that he would have undoubtedly have offered his advice upon
He left us too early, too young with too much life and love to give. How I hate this disease that stripped us of a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend to so many. I am determined to continue to raise money in honor of my dad, to hopefully prevent future loss. Any donation is greatly appreciated in my father's memory.
How terribly fitting, that the Walk To End Alzheimer's is on dad's birthday, Sat. September 16th; please know you are welcome to join us on that morning. Your love and support through the years has been greatly appreciated.
With much love and gratitude,
Sharon, Ross, Marlene and Mark
Message July 2016
Unfortunately, this is the year where we walk in memory of our father. His death, this past January, leaves a void in each of us; what brings us some comfort is knowing that he left this Earth still recognizing us, knowing he was loved and knowing how much he loved us.
The words we wrote for his funeral are the most fitting update under the circumstances:
THINGS WE WANT TO REMEMBER ABOUT OUR DAD
(By Sharon and Mark):
1-How he loved his couch and remote control (and how often he fell asleep and snoring filled our house)
2-How he made us pick up the rotten apples in our backyard (and we are forever scarred)
3-How he made us clean his many boats over the years
4-How he loved to go to the movies all the time; boy would he have loved these recliner seat theatres!
5-How he loved to go to Sunday night bad movies (and mom was grateful not to have to see them with him!)
6-How he loved to drive and whistle and sing in the car ("Love Potion Number Nine" was a favorite and how he loved to slap us "high five" when he drove)
7-How he loved to go on road trips with Yaya, Bua, Nina, David, Howie, Scott, Julia and our family of 4
8-How he loved to have brunch on Sundays (bagels, lox, herring, eggs)
9-How he loved to BBQ and host events at our house. Our backyard was filled with much laughter and nachas over the years and everyone probably remembers enjoying at least one special occasion at my parents' house!
10-How he loved to boat (just taking the boat out for a quick ride filled him with such joy!) or how he loved to fish (and was allowed to bring it into our home, so long as he cooked and cleaned them according to mom)
11-How he was late ALL the time because he always had 1 more errand to do (checking on the boat was always top of the list!)
12-How he and Aunt Nina are examples of coming to America to live a better life and making sure their kids and grandkids had more than them
13-How he worked all his life and always kept himself busy; there was always another project to do even if it meant starting it at 11:00 pm at night
14-How he tirelessly gave to others (getting oil changes for everyone and fixing things constantly)
15-How he took apart and put together an engine for fun
16-How he built a ping pong table for Mark and a tree house for Sharon
17-How he helped his kids, nephews and niece get their first cars
18-How he always wanted his family to be provided for
19-How he always wanted us to be well fed and have money in our pocket(even up to a few weeks ago asking if we needed any money)
20-How he taught himself how to invest in the stock market
21-How he stressed the importance of education (when receiving a 98 on a test, he would always ask, what happened to the other two points?)
22-How he taught us to fight (we mean "physically fight" with our fists so we could defend ourselves)
23-How he also taught us how to stand up in what we believe in
24-How he loved to bellow our names loudly (no one quite perfected the standard Henry Haut move of sitting in his chair downstairs calling up for us three flights)
25-How he would always wait up for us to come home (no matter the time or our age)
26-How he loved to read and he loved to learn
27-How he ran the Hudson Anglers Shark Tournament for years and loved getting us free T shirts
28-How he scared most of our friends initially (but once they got to know him, he was a big lovable teddy bear)
29-How he refused to pay for parking and would go around in circles trying to find a spot
30-How he loved to get the "best deal" (and had no problem driving all around town and shaking down everyone to get it!)
31-How he embraced Ross once he married into the family (and put him to work immediately like the rest of us!)
32-How he had a lot of CHUTZPAH and was unapologetic about it (Who else has enough nerve to call the doctor's office at the very appointment itself to find out the gender of his first grandchild OR to stand in a hospital parking spot to save it for Ross and Sharon for the birth of his second grandchild?)
33-How much he kneeled over his two grandchildren-how he loved to tell stories to Mitchell and let Samantha sit on his belly and play.
34-How often we found him staring at us, and when asked why, he would respond, "I'm just kvelling."
35-How he gave us the best bear hugs
36-How proud he was of us
37-How he loved and adored our mom for 46 years of marriage
38-How he loved us with all his heart
39-How much he was loved by us and will be sorely missed
40-How on his last Father's Day, during a moment of clarity, he shared his last fatherly advice: "Cherish your family and love every minute you spend with them."
WE LOVE YOU AND CHERISH YOU DAD!
THIS YEAR'S MESSAGE JULY 2015
It's amazing to reflect on the passage of a year through the eyes of Alzheimer's, and how it continues to take away pieces of my dad as well as the toll it takes upon my family.
While my dad is still physically with us, the loss of his "real presence and true being" continues to haunt me so. The loss of so many things occurs to me when I am alone, and the fact that he will never be able to do the things he loves brings me to tears.
*How he will never be able to drive his boat and appreciate the open water, nor share that passion with his grandchildren who would have undoubtedly become his "co-first mates";
*How he will never be able to drive his car again on an open highway on a sunny day;
*How he will never be able to cruise again with my mom, family and friends;
*How he will never buy that place in Florida which he always talked about;
*How he will never go to the movies on Sunday night with our neighbor Paul, his "bad movie partner," or see any movies in the theater with mom;
*How he will never grill at his own BBQ (as he did regularly for all holidays for family and friends over the years);
*How he will never be a caregiver again for my mom(who has had her own health issues and could have used his support and comfort) or any other family member or friend;
*How he will never be able to work on his boat, build furniture or complete other projects around the house;
*How he will never be able to run errands or really go anywhere on his accord....A MAN ALWAYS ON THE GO.....confined to a wheelchair and within the deep recesses of his own mind.
So many dreams not realized, so many missed opportunities to enjoy life the way he deserved to, after years of working hard. It's so unfair.....
There is no "upside" to this disease; its devastating progression and impact is felt upon millions of people daily. Remaining "hopeful" is a rather elusive concept....Notwithstanding this, I am trying to be grateful for what my dad still has in his life, and in turn what we all still have with him in our lives.
*Grateful that he still recognizes family and friends, and that his face lights up when a loved one visits him;
*Grateful that he still tries to engage you in conversation(despite the fact that much of what he says does not make sense, he still seems to enjoy the reciprocity of conversation);
*Grateful that he still enjoys music and will still sing along with you;
*Grateful that he still appears social, and everyone in the facility knows his name and he smiles when greeted;
*Grateful that he still enjoys hugs and kisses from us, and that he in turn, loves to give them so freely to his family;
*Grateful that he still has a twinkle in his eyes at times, and likes to laugh, especially when you sing out of tune with him.
We are truly grateful for all the love and support we have received this past year, with all the challenges presented by my dad and mom's health. It has been a hard year for our family, and we are grateful to have so many wonderful friends and family to help us get through it.
So all the while, I try to remain hopeful, in a world that does not appear to be doing nearly enough to rid us from this disease. So I try to do my part, to raise awareness and funds for this cruel disease with this fundraising page. We again walk to honor my dad, amongst millions who have this dreadful disease, and welcome with open arms anyone who wishes to join us for this year's Walk to End Alzheimer's on Saturday, September 19th at Belmont State Park.
I am also hopeful that you will help us raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's research, care and support, by making a donation. Thank you for any amount you can give. My family continues to appreciate your support during this difficult time.
THIS YEAR'S MESSAGE JULY 2014:
I cannot believe only a year has passed, and how this disease has changed the face and life of my father in such a short period of time. To watch the deterioration of a loved one is painful for anyone. However, to watch someone's mind go, where the very essence of that person has left them, is truly heartbreaking.
My father while still here physically, has left us on so many levels. Oh what I wouldn't give for him to interject his unsolicited opinion on any topic; for him to call during the worst time of day while I am doing homework with the kids or putting them to sleep; for him to offer to give me the name of a contact that will give me a "great deal" for a car or house repair; or for him to fight with as he insists to pay for a meal delivered to my house. To watch a man always on the go, no longer able to go anywhere, or do anything, without adult support, is painful. A capable man, who now is incapable; a strong proud man who now cannot do basic self help skills on his own.
What a difference a year makes. During this year, as the months passed, seeing him capable of doing less and less outside the home has been very hard. Last year he was still able to go places, and visit family and friends. With each passing month, this devastating disease took its toll on him physically and mentally, where now, he no longer is able to leave his home. To be unable to participate in life in a meaningful way is so cruel; he is a man still in his prime, celebrating his 68th birthday this September, and what joy or happiness does he experience?
When I look back at pictures from last year, there was still a glimmer in his eye; now we find ourselves desperately looking for it in his day to day life. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you will see a fleeting moment which reminds you of that "larger than life" person, our dad. But unfortunately, most moments are with vacant eyes. He still recognizes us, and still enjoys a hug and a kiss from his loved ones. But after that, we are left wondering.
To read about the disease and how it strips a person of memory, cognitive development, and ultimately, involuntary actions is in many ways, hard to fathom. It is truly incomprehensible to watch it unfold on a real live person, watching these different stages emerge on an actual subject, only to realize, it is your loved one...your father. To watch him struggle to retrieve certain memories or thoughts, then having difficulty finishing sentences, and then only to say sentences which make no sense in the context of the conversation; or stringing together words that do not form a sentence, all the while, he expects a certain response from you. I should be grateful that there still is some conversation, despite the fact it doesn't make sense most of the time. I know in time, I will miss these jumbled conversations, since at some point in this disease, it is inevitable, he will lose language as well.
We have been very fortunate to have many who have supported my dad and us during this horrible time. We will walk again on September 20th to honor my father, among the millions of others, who deserve more than what they have been allotted with this awful disease. Anyone who wishes to join us for "Walk to End Alzheimer's" is more than welcome to; we would greatly appreciate the company.
I am also hopeful that you will help us raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support, by making a donation. Thank you for any amount you can give. My family continues to appreciate your support during this difficult time.
Sharon, Ross, Mark, Marlene
LAST YEAR'S MESSAGE DATED JULY 2013
I never really understood Alzheimer's until this past October. Not only did Hurricane Sandy rock my family's world, but unfortunately at the same time, my sixty-seven year old father was diagnosed with this devastating disease.
This page is to honor my father, Henry Haut, who is one of five million people, currently plagued with this horrific disease.
To know my father, was to recognize that he was a force to be reckoned with all his life. Born in Poland, he, my aunt, and my grandparents came to the United States when he was a teen, and as a result, he always had a survivor mentality. He was always determined to raise his family with more than he had growing up. As I was growing up, he was an active man, always on the go, whether it was work, tinkering on his boat that he loved, or always lending a helping hand to a family member or friend. To this day, it still amazes me how he would drop everything to help everyone and anyone who needed his assistance.
He is a man that by example, taught me to have a strong work ethic, persevere, and to take initiative when you want to get things done. He was a vocal man who always gave his opinion on everything, even if unsolicited, and as his daughter, can easily acknowledge that this was often. But I always knew in my heart that despite how he could frustrate me so, he always came from a place of love and his desire to always do right by his family.
I never truly appreciated the phrase that "if you have your health, you have everything, " until this past year. To watch my father deteriorate into a shell of the person he was, has been absolutely heartbreaking. To watch my mother lose her companion of the last forty years of her life, and instead serve as his health aide, breaks my heart daily. This is a disease that doesn't just take away memories, but it decimates a person where he is stripped of dignity and peace of mind. This disease turns the concept of "circle of life" upside down, where a person can no longer do the basic self help skills that he once learned as a toddler.
I can't fathom how this disease can exist; I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. If this isn't enough, it is the reality that what appears as so little progress has been made, on understanding and combating this disease in relationship to all the other awful diseases. In 2030, we as a nation are running a risk that one out of three people will have a form of dementia or Alzheimer's.
I walk to honor my father, among the millions of others, who deserve more than what they have been allotted with this awful disease.
I am hopeful that you will help raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support, by making a donation. Thank you for any amount you can give. My family appreciates your support during this difficult time.
Sharon, Ross, Mark, Marlene
Thank you for helping us advance Alzheimer's support, care and research!
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