I haven’t been keeping up with the blog lately due to life. I lost my Dad a few months ago and dealing with the last few months of his battle with cancer pretty much wiped me out. So in an effort to bet it moving along again I thought I would post about my Dad. Several people have asked for me to post what I wrote for him at the memorial service so here it is….
I think most sons that have had a good relationship with their father will say that their dad is their hero. For me it is not just how my dad lived his life that he is my hero, but also how he lived as he died. Anyone who knew him knows that he was a man a very few words. Partly because he had a laid back personality but also partly because he couldn’t suffer fools and as he liked to say, if you can’t say anything meaningful don’t say anything.
My father’s childhood was not the easiest one. His father, when present, was abusive and drunk. His father gave my dad an excellent example of how not to be a father. So when in the course of his life he began his own family my dad decided to try his hardest to be nothing like his father. In that he succeeded well past his expectations.
I remember throughout most of my childhood my dad worked allot. He didn’t do well with showing his emotions at the time. He showed my sister and I how much he cared by providing for us. We were the stereotypical middle class suburban family, with 2 cats instead of dogs. Dad didn’t like to waste money. Some people, if they would have seen him as he walked around the airport on his breaks returning the luggage carts to their rental cue for the quarter it gave you, might have called him cheap. I would call him long suffering and patient. You see he saved up enough quarters by returning those carts to take the family to Europe one summer.
Since I can remember my dad loved to sing. He loved to sing in the church choir, but he never sang around the house, or in public. In fact, I can say I never heard him practice ever. He didn’t like the attention so he sang on his way to and from work for his practice. But if there is one thing he liked more than the choir it was his family. If I had to pick my dad’s biggest fault it was that he loved his family. Of course it was also his strength. There is nothing, absolutely nothing he would not have done for his family. You can see this in the family pictures. He is more often than not in the back, watching. Even in the family videos you can find dad in the corner of the room watching quietly. Smiling as his family acted like idiots playing around when we got together. This tradition continued when I had my own family. My wife and I rented a condo on the beach and had our children and grandchildren over. My parents joined us too. Here we all are crammed in the kitchen and dining room being goofy and laughing and sitting quietly behind us watching with a smile that showed complete contentment was my dad.
While I have always been close with my mom, I was not so with my dad until later on in life. Maybe because we are too much alike and but heads. Maybe because I was too stubborn to realize the gift God had given me in him. But always my strength was my dad. He was always there, praying for me. Ready for me.
Dad became more vocal about his opinions and emotions once he became “papa”. He loved being a grandfather. Something we both share. He shared his faith more openly the last 10 years as he grew more comfortable opening up.
When dad was first diagnosed his cancer, I really thought he would beat the odds. After all, he survived 2 heart attacks, quit smoking was healthy and he has always been there. The Lord has continually worked miracles my family’s life. I knew it would be a hard road, but I though dad would make it. I was not in denial, I just had confidence in the Lord.
The day hospice came and was admitting him the nurse asked him about his religious preference. Dad looked at her and said, “Everyone here knows Jesus as their Lord and savior.” Then he looked at her with a look that implied the question, and what about you? I remember trying to hide my laugh as I thought, That’s my dad!
He remained overly concerned about others even the last few days as the cancer became stronger than his will and more than his body could fight. He worried about the health of my daughter, about the security of my family, about his “girls” the grandchildren and mostly about my mother. The last days of my father’s life I sat next to him and read to him some of his favorite passages and promises of Scripture. The disease had robbed him of his speech, but he still was able to communicate. Every time he heard the name of Jesus he responded. Even at the end my father remained faithful, to his family and to his God.
I use to think that 75 years old was just that, old. Now I can’t help but think of it as way too young. My mom and I were with dad when he went home to the Lord. Afterword still in the room, I told my mom that I really thought that God was going to work a miracle. She looked at me and smiled and told me that He did. She told me that God worked his greatest miracle of all right in front of us, salvation.
So yes, like many sons before me I can say that my dad is my hero. However, it is because of his faithfulness to the Lord and to his family. It is because of the love that he showed. And that love was a true gift from God. And that is what I shall miss the most.