Tribute to My Dad

Tribute to My Dad

As many of you know, my dad passed away the Saturday before Thanksgiving--2006--which led to a flood of memories for which I am very thankful. In mourning his passing, it has been helpful for me to share the tribute I wrote for his funeral service. If you had a dad like mine, you probably won't be able to make it through without some tears. If you did not, I hope it will not deter you from looking to our Heavenly Father for comfort and guidance--the only One Who will never leave you, forsake you, or let you down.

Thank-You, my precious Heavenly Father, for Dad.....

After the Lord called Dad home, we sat in a conference room comforting each other. A staff member came in to ask us if we wanted an autopsy. In a single voice, we declined. I think it was in that moment that it occurred to us--the most important lesson that Dad had taught us�that it is eminently more important how one lives than how one dies.

The real job of a dad is to help his children form their first understanding of the nature of our Heavenly Father�to give that first glimpse and help make the unseen knowable. Through an earthly father�s words and actions, the children often make decisions about what kind of relationship they will have, if any, with our Heavenly Father. From my earliest days, Dad showed me a father�s strength, protection, and unconditional love. These were his most precious gifts to me.

Because of my dad, I can tie a tie--both half and full Windsor.
Because of my dad, I can spell chrysanthemum and Czechoslovakia.
Because of my dad, I can hit a nail with a hammer squarely.
Because of my dad, when I bowl, I don't throw a back-up ball.
Because of my dad, I have a firm handshake and look people squarely in the eye.
Because of my dad, I do not walk aimlessly and without purpose through life AND
I have an opinion, thank-you very much.....
Because of my dad, I know how to work hard and play hard.
Because of my dad, I am never at a loss for words.
Because of my dad, I measure twice and cut once--a lesson that has saved me much heartache.
Because of my dad, I am strong on the outside, strong on the inside, and an eternal optimist.
Because of my dad, I chose a strong, decisive man for a husband.

A few years back, as he gazed upon his oldest grandson--alive, but lying in a coma in the ICU at University Hospital, he remarked, "If only I could trade places with him." God granted a miracle in the days, weeks, and months ahead, as if Dad had bestowed on Aaron his tenacious spirit in the fight to recover. Then a bittersweetness set into our lives as day-by-day, one brain healed and as month-by-month the other gently began to fade�it was as if God had graciously granted Dad his unselfish wish.

Our Lord is never surprised. He prepares the way and walks before us. The entire path may not be lit, but there will always be light shining brightly on the next stepping stone. We see now that this is why He placed Dad�s family around him, Todd, Beth, Krystal, Tiffany, and Valerie live right next door. Melonie, Sarah, and I all live close by. It is a testament to Dad and Mom that we all settled in nearby�we have enjoyed the fruits of a close family�truly one for all and all for one.

Dad bestowed on us many characteristics:
We are a talkative bunch and you only have to know Dad to be within 3 people of knowing everyone on Earth. And unless you had nothing to do for the next couple of hours, you would not want to begin the topic of his family. Not a one of us kids can claim a measure of success that did not sprout from the seeds of his guidance or from his strength of character.

When I was very little--perhaps 2 or 3--Dad would stand at the bottom of the stairs at my grandparents house and call to me to jump into his arms. Looking back on this, I realize this taught me both courage and trust. I was also in awe of his strength. One day, though, I remember standing on the stairs, while Dad was some yards away in an adjacent area. I called out the usual, "Catch me, Daddy!" and jumped. To this day, I have no idea how he covered so much ground, but he managed to catch me.

In this moment, when my heart wants to call out, "Catch me, Daddy!" I am comforted that long ago his big hand held my little one in his as we walked to church. As everyone knows, Dad was a great planner. He always planned ahead and thoroughly. He knew that as big and strong as his arms were, and as much as he always wanted to be there to catch me, the day would come when he no longer would be able to do this--he planned for today many, many years ago when he lifted me up and placed me solidly in the arms of my Savior.

Dad was an overcomer. If ever you wanted to see the miraculous, all you had to do was to tell Dad something couldn't be done. He even vowed he would win as he battled against dementia..... and with the Lord's gracious hand, I guess you could say he did. We salute you, Dad. You will ever remain in our hearts as our hero and loyal cheerleader.

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