Today would have been my beloved Dad’s 78th birthday. I sure do miss him, especially his hugs and his soothing words of encouragement. No matter what endeavor I tackled, he was the first one to tell me I could do it. He prayed for me, shared words of wisdom, wrapped me up in his “big daddy” hugs (no matter how old I was), and told me how much he loved me, and how proud he was of me and my accomplishments.
I have yet to understand why he – of all people – was struck down with lymphoma and taken from us in only about 18 months from the day of his diagnosis. He and my Mom had been married for about 45 1/2 years at the time he died, back on September 2, 2002. I struggled for years with blaming God for taking my Dad – my Mom’s life partner, my kids’ grampy – this gentle giant of a man who was a blessing to so many.
At some point over the past couple years, I realized that Dad would not have wanted me to blame God – even at the height of Dad’s suffering, he never blamed God. Dad encouraged us all NOT to, either – but rather, thank God for the time He allowed Dad to be with us, rejoice in the years we had together, and continue to serve God after Dad went home to be with his beloved Lord. Indeed, the early morning hours when Dad passed onto his heavenly reward, it was as if the angels rejoiced as they welcomed him, even as they comforted those of us left behind.
That was my Dad – encouraging others even as he was suffering. I dedicate this blog to his memory – and to in some small way, carry forth his legacy of encouragement and inspiration.
* I love you, Dad – I miss you, your hugs, and your words of advice and encouragement – but I know you’re enjoying the presence of the God you served your whole life … and I’m glad you’re not suffering any more.*
To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward. ~Margaret Fairless Barber, The Roadmender
Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From the television show The Wonder Years