On March 17, 2011, my family said, “See ya soon” to the most wonderful man I’ve ever known, my dad. After 18 days in the ICU, 11 on a ventilator, Dad met his Messiah in heaven. None of us expected that his pneumonia would take this turn. Even his doctors and nurses were shocked because previously he was the picture of health and very lively and strong at 56. The memorial service was perfect. About 500 people came, many wearing bright colors and cowboy boots. At the end of the service the pastor did a salvation message and at least 6 (we haven’t confirmed with him yet since the service) people who knew and loved my dad, now know and love my dad’s Savior, too! Such a wonderful bright light in the darkness of our grief. My mom was so very brave and was able to read a note she wrote to my dad. My brother and I were not as brave as our wonderfully strong momma. We both chose to have someone else read our words for us. In my case, the pastor’s wife read mine. Here is what I shared about my Daddy at the celebration of his life.
I have always been a Daddy’s Girl. As long as I can remember my Dad has been the number one man in my life. We went to father-daughter dances, Girl Scout camping trips, dates, and outings to the gun range. When I was sick in the middle of the night, I called for Daddy, not because Mom trained me to as he would always claim, but because it was Dad that I wanted to cuddle with. Dad introduced me into a world of music, drama, and laughter with a large variety of movies. I watched so many black and whites I would swear they were color. To this day my favorite movies are mostly those that my peers have never heard of, half are musicals and the other half star Cary Grant. My passion for movies was constantly cultivated by my Dad.
Dad always encouraged me and Robert to go for our dreams, whether that meant being a CEO, a photographer, or a parent. He desperately wanted us to have college degrees, even if it was in underwater basket weaving, because he knew the value the world put on that piece of paper. Unlike my brother, I never knew what I wanted to ‘do’ when I grew up other than being a mom. My Dad would always tell me, “It’s ok, we’ll figure it out when we grow up.” Dad was often Mom’s third kid. He would crack jokes at inappropriate times, make mischief with friends and work colleagues, and eat cookies or cake for breakfast. He also instituted ice cream sundaes for dinner. Dad always scooped because everything food was in mass quantities, this included ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ scoops of Blue Bell.
I could go on for days talking about the funny things Dad said and did and giving examples of the strange things we do as a family because of Dad’s sense of humor. However, the most important thing about my Daddy is that he truly is the earthly example of a heavenly Father. He loves unconditionally; I can only remember one or two times in my entire life where I was truly angry with him. He has a way of making everyone he talks to feel as though they are the most important person in the world. Dad never met a stranger. Dad adopted my friends as his own and took on the protector role, offering to shoot or hunt down any offending boys. He loves to spoil me and my mom, but never to the point of rotten. He can make anyone laugh through tears and remind them that life will go on. In everything Dad does, he lets the love of God flow through him in a way that is effortless and truly indescribable.
Daddy, I miss you more than words can possibly say. I have been so blessed to have you for 25 years. I see so much of you not only in myself, but in Caleb. In the movies I watch, the weird things I come up with to say, and the BBQ sauce I make I will always be reminded of a wonderful man and a loving father. I am so glad God gave me to you and Mom because I couldn’t have chosen any better. I know that every time I see a classic car or I think of a quote from My Blue Heaven I will have to stop myself from calling you. Thank you for being the most incredible Dad I could ever imagine; sacrificing all that you did for my and Robert’s sake. You are truly the greatest man I will ever have the privilege to know, to love, and to be loved by. I love you bunches, and bunches, and bunches, and bunches. Socks up, boss. I will see you soon!
Love – For all Eternity, Your Little Girl