|July 28, 1921 - March 21, 2011|
on monday, march 21st, my dad took his last breath and entered into eternity.
the phone call came on sunday afternoon, which started an hour by hour vigil by my dad's bedside. he was surrounded by his family until the very end with mom tenderly holding his hand. it was full of bittersweet moments, but also with love and care for my dad.
we spent the past week deep in preparation for dad's funeral. the days were filled with friends and family sharing their condolences and love in so many ways. the funeral service was a wonderful, honoring tribute to my dad. the burial site with the color guard and presentation of the flag to my mom was beyond words.
my brother, sister, myself, 3 of his grandkids and one of dad's brothers shared what my dad meant to them at the service. it was a time of reflection, happy memories and tears. i'd like to leave you with the tribute i wrote for my dad.
Our family was blessed to have a dad who loved us, instilled in us a great work ethic, enjoyed traveling and making us laugh.
There were so many family vacations throughout the years from driving long hours to the Midwest (Kansas, Indiana, Illinois to name a few), flying all of us to California when I was 5, trips to various sites in New York when we had out of town visitors (Adirondacks, Howe caverns), the Panther Lake cottage and many visits with his twin brother in Washington, DC. One time, in particular, he even endured a spring break vacation to VA beach while a storm blew up the coast. We were fortunate to enjoy all this because of the long hours and extra jobs he worked.
My dad loved to tinker with things, especially after he retired. He wasn’t especially refined in his skills but it was the thought and the love he showed by wanting to help. We use to tease him about it. I remember being a bit upset with him, one time, when he “fixed” my Barbie’s broken leg. Let’s just say, she was fondly known as “bolt-hip Barbie” after her “surgery”. I now treasure this because my dad used his hands and his heart to fix her.
There were also many handyman solutions that my dad shared with us. His tools of choice were a bar of soap, scotch tape and a label gun. All in all, he taught me to be frugal and to not be afraid to fix something myself.
My dad loved people and always had a smile or a word of appreciation. He so impressed me these last seven months with the thankfulness he expressed to medical staff no matter what he was enduring at the time. So many of these people said how they enjoyed caring for my dad and I’m sure it was because of his smile and those “thank you’s”.
Just a few short weeks ago, while mom & I were standing by his hospital bed, he asked me about the household bills. Even in his pain and weakness, he thanked me and told me that he was relying on me to take care of them. Ultimately, he wanted to make sure that we were watching over mom. If I were to list just one way that my dad has impacted my life, it would have to be his gratefulness.
This past year has been a difficult one, but one mixed with bittersweet moments. The struggles of his medical issues were mixed with the valuable time we were able to spend with him and mom. We were exhausted physically but it was an honor to care for him in his time of need. We are so blessed that as a family we were able to be with him on his last day on this earth. The hours and moments prior will be something that I will always treasure.
As we were going through pictures and memorabilia the past few days, I came across the eulogy of one of my mom’s older brothers who died suddenly in 1949. I believe my dad would want you to hear this, so I’d like to share a portion of this with you. The pertinence of this message applies today, just as it did almost 62 years ago.
In Luke 12:40 it says, “Therefore you also be ready: for the Son of man comes at an hour you do not expect.” The Lord saw around him much of the feeling and attitudes that are prevalent today. There were two attitudes prevalent then which are prevalent today. The one is the sense of self-sufficiency, the feeling of self security. Nothing is going to happen today that will alter our course or our life. We will live to a ripe old age, and in our old age we can begin to think on things that are eternal.
The other attitude is the sense of the unexpected. The unexpected happens. Life is changed. The family circle is changed. In a twinkling of an eye the unexpected can change life completely.
The two attitudes go together, yet are in conflict. One is the opposite of the other. How can the unexpected alter the course of the self-sufficient? How can the self-sufficient enter into the course of the unexpected? It does become a paradox. Life is full of such paradoxes if we but stop and think of them.
Our Savior in His Holy Word answers this contradiction directly and clearly; ““Therefore you also be ready: for the Son of man comes at an hour you do not expect.” In this answer we also hear His Words from John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live: and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” This is the answer of our Saviour, this is the answer of His Word, and this is the answer of His Church.
Do you believe? Are you ready?
thank you for keeping my family in your thoughts and prayers. the days to come, as the reality of this loss continues to sink in, will be difficult. mom is a strong lady but she's lost the one who has been with her nearly everday for over 65 years.