I would like to share with you a little about my Dad. He was and always will be the person who influenced my life the most and nurtured me to become who I am today and why I do what I do.
My Dad passed away just a few short weeks after Fathers Day eight years ago; he was only seventy six. Some days it seems like yesterday, other days it seems like forever. I miss him dearly each day of my life, yet I know his spirit lives on in me.
My Dad was a man of integrity, wisdom, perseverance, a never give up attitude, and had a huge heart for God. He had the greatest patience of anyone I have ever known…and believe me, I’m sure I was the one who tested that patience quite frequently.
He was my rock, made me feel safe, and I knew that I could count on him for anything. No matter what kind of challenges I brought to him, he never gave up or stopped loving me.
He taught me that God was more than a religion, his own spiritual journey set my heart on fire to search for more.
My daughter was his “best friend” as he always said, they had a precious relationship and I am always grateful that he retired early and had that time with her. But he didn’t stay long enough to see her graduate from high school, college, or get married. And these are the times I miss him the most, miss his smile through his tears of happiness, for he had that kind of emotional heart.
I lost my Dad slowly over many years prior to his death, when an undiagnosed stroke left him with aphasia, a disconnect in the brain that affects verbal communication. His mind and thoughts were there, he just could not express them any longer in words.
Thankfully, we could communicate through written words, but our conversations were not quite the same after that. For me this was the most difficult part…no longer being able to “talk” with him and no more phone calls just to say hello and chat…I really missed that.
Yet nothing could stop my Dad from overcoming any challenge and he took it upon himself to learn sign language, because that was the kind of person he was… never give up, make the best of any situation and always continue to learn and grow, no matter what the obstacles lying in front of you were.
Unfortunately, the rest of us weren’t as diligent in learning this new form of communication, so writing was the way we “spoke” to one another…mostly.
His health slowly declined over the next 8 years with many other unusual changes that followed, taking him slowly away…losing parts of him piece by piece. We made the best of things, but it was one of the most difficult journeys I have ever had to travel through. The tables were turning and my rock now needed me and I wasn’t ready for that… or ready to lose that person who was always there for me, but no longer was able to be.
Today I realize more than ever, the precious gift God blessed me with. God gave me a wonderful Father for forty nine years to love me, lead me, support me and nurture me. My Dad is and always will be a part of me and that is a blessing beyond any measure.
When I lost my Dad, I realized the most important thing that he had been trying to instill in me all those years, was that God was my rock in everything. He was the one I needed to lean on for everything, He was the one who would always be with me no matter what life brought and would get me through it all and help me keep moving on. My Dad’s example of faith and trust are what he left with me… the gift that keeps on giving and inspiring me every day of my life.
I truly believe that my Dad was trying to prepare me for that day when he would no longer be here. But being young and thinking my Dad would be around for a very long time, at least until I was ready to let him go, kind of blindsided me. I wasn’t ready to lose him, we had so much more to experience together. But life doesn’t always turn out the way we expected, does it?
But as always, God brings something good in everything. The loss of my earthly Dad has taught me to cherish every moment, take nothing for granted, never give up and trust God first and always in all things. To truly listen with open hearts to what our parents are trying to leave with us …their legacy of love, wisdom and knowledge from their own journeys to help us keep moving on once they are gone.
I continue to celebrate my Dad on Fathers Day and every day of my life, with a smile and sometimes a tear, because of all that he selflessly gave me, taught me, and loved me through…and most importantly for the part of him that will always remain within me.
Happy Fathers Day and thank you Dad for everything…I will see you again someday. I love you.