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Dad, I miss you.
The loss of a Father
Today, May 9, 2008 makes 5 years since you passed away so unexpectedly, just 5 days after your 58th birthday. All of us reeled from it; not only the pain of losing you dad, but the shock of losing you at such a young age. There never was an indication there were problems with your heart.
We knew you loved ice-cream, peanut butter and a peculiar food combination or two that only a pregnant woman might appreciate. Yeah, you 'd put on some weight the last year or two - having thickened around the middle some - but by no means would anyone have described you as obese. Who doesn't gain weight now and then and how many of us live long lives being somewhat overweight? Your long legs were still slim and you didn't have a beer or potbelly. My first thought upon receiving the news was, "it can't be - it's a mistake..."
I've never in my 40 years experienced anything so difficult. Dad, I know you said you didn't want people to be sad when your time came yet we can't tell other people how to feel. How I miss your warmth, the regular contact even though geographically we've been miles apart since the middle of my junior year in high school. Sometimes I still find myself fighting the tears. If it's any consolation, although I did grieve, it didn't take long for me to experience some peace - which increased w/ each passing day - for the Comforter came to guide and carry me through.
My mom left you when I was six and Cindy was three....later when I was old enough to comprehend, she said you told her she could have the house, cars, anything - but not my sister and I. Even though she agreed we should remain with you, your heart was still broken.
Yes, you loved your family, your neighbors, your coworkers, desiring to be a friend to all. You were a gatherer of people and loved to show hospitality and I've inherited that gift from you. You were pretty open, genuine and sincere. You were mostly humble and didn't hesitate to approach others to seek or offer help, to ask an opinion, offer a compliment and some were complete strangers. What an exemplary example of someone who - even though you were not raised w/ any spirituality or specific faith - you lived out on many occasions, what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. I'll always treasure the memory from Arianne's wedding (how we all wish you could have been there!) and Johnny, someone I'd never met before, recognized me as your daughter. He came up to me and shared an experience he had w/ you. Apparently a group of you guys were out golfing one day when one of them had a seizure or something and Johnny knew how to respond. You were not the least bit self conscious of expressing your affection for another man when you tearfully embraced Johnny w/ a great-big-bear hug and the words, 'thank you for helping my friend.'
You were funny, in a goofy sort of way, and what most might describe as an unpredictable personality if they didn't know you well. At times you attempted to shock people, which is something I also inherited from you (although now that I'm not so wild, not as characteristic of me anymore!). I know you wanted to be cool but I never really thought of you that way, no disrespect intended. You and my mom grew up together and i know you spent a lot of time at Grandma and Grandpa W.'s home. Rumor has it, you used to get on the roof of their rambler off of Sepulveda in Torrance Calif., wearing one of Grandma's bra's, and cannon ball into the pool! Or how about the time Noel and I were playing and things started to turn ugly....I decided I'd better run for home. She chased after me and was gaining when I reached our driveway, I turned to face her. Our arms and hands (fists?) flailed at one another. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw you standing there by the garage...I noticed you leaned up against it w/ ankles crossed and arms folded across your chest, rather than trying to intervene. Finally, crying, Noel turned and ran for home. I turned and faced you and thought I was in trouble and I started to cry and you said, "oh stop, you're not hurt!" and I realized you meant what you said about how I'd not get in trouble if I defended myself as a result of someone else starting something. Or how about when after having Jennifer (the fourth and last of all us girls) you and (step) mom Diane decided a vasectomy was a good idea. You guys had Uncle Craig (your brother and best friend) and Auntie Dotty over for dinner and you were discussing the experience and the procedure and asked them if they wanted to see your scar ( and I don't think you would have asked JUST anybody) so you revealed your privates and Auntie said, "that's it?" and everyone laughed hysterically because it could have been construed as her referring to the size of your manhood!....I loved how after I became a woman you shared your position on the subject and said all men should have the procedure rather than a woman undergo having her tubes tied.
I know working at GTEDS, you constantly had to use your mind . When you were off, it seemed you loved to work w/ you hands. I so admired what you accomplished around our home. You put your heart, soul, sweat and blood into creating a haven for beauty (including that barn!!!) or remove that which interfered.
Thank you for doing everything in your power to make a little girls dream of having her own horse a reality. I mostly credit you dad for teaching me the value of hard work, honesty and responsibility.
Thank you for taking me fishing, camping and playing sports with me (even though I suffered a black eye when we were playing pickle and I caught the ball w/ my face! Cindy was running the bases...I'll never forget that!). I guess I was a tom boy but you helped shape me into one who appreciates adventure and the great outdoors.
Thank you for telling me you are proud of me.
Thank you for allowing me to see you cry.
Thank you for embracing my husband as part of the family and even though you said you were too young to be a Grandpa, you were crazy about our boys. I hope to keep your memory alive - I'm praising God for photography too!
Thank you for instilling in me to value family and friendships....in regards to family, things haven't been the same since you've been gone.....you were like glue, keeping us connected and close. I've grown closer to the Uncles and Auntie's however and I'm blessed by that.
Thank you for wanting to know me even after I became a Christian, even though there was so much you didn't understand....thank you for not hesitating to "want to" and for asking questions, not only of me but other Christians you knew or encountered.
Thank you for seeking HIM...and for wanting me to see how thrilled you were about the new testament you'd received from Cindy, the Christian lady who waitress-ed at the coffee shop. I hope you had a chance to get through most of it since you breathed your last shortly thereafter.... Even though you never went to church you shared what you believed w/ me. Thank you. I've never questioned your love for me, most of my life understanding it went deep. Even when I made choices that hurt you, those you didn't agree with or approve of, your love remained constant. You bore the image of God in this way....truly beautiful.
Obviously there were issues we didn't know of regarding your physical heart, but when it came to your relational heart, as far as I'm concerned, it was magnificent! .