Feb 17, 2013

Bye Dad. Love you. Can't Wait To See You Again

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012. 6:55 AM, the phone rang. The simple words come across the line. "Well, it's over." I say, "I'm so sorry, Mom."

It's taken me a long time to be able to write this. Three months, in fact. After an 18 month battle with mesothelioma, my dad finally succumbed to the disease and passed away. It was a day I had known was coming for a long time, but not long enough. I would like to say it made it easier, and I guess in some ways, it did. But, I still wish for it to have been different. Because we knew death was a possibility, we got to plan and spend lots of time together as a family. Of course, it's never enough, but we had a trip to South Dakota, family dinners, sleepovers from grandparents, and plenty of family prayer and fasting and faith building.

My dad has always been my hero. Always. Even when I was ticked off at something he'd gotten after me for doing. He was always there for me. He always took care of me. Whenever I needed help fixing something, or advice, he was always there.

His example continues to be an inspiration to me. I never once heard him swear. Ever. He had cars fall on him, cows and horses step on him and kick him, and 6 children to exasperate him. Not once did foul language escape his mouth.

His efforts to make the community and world a better place were noticed by so many, but his efforts to raise children who loved each other and took care of each other may have been unseen by those outside his inner circle. He will be missed by many, but his family most.

Dear Dad,

       I know you fought hard. I know it wasn't how you hoped it would end. I know that you wanted to see your grandchildren get older, marry and have children of their own. I know you wanted to serve a mission with Mom. Those things will happen differently than originally planned. Your grandchildren still talk of you daily. Landon especially. He sometimes tears up and just says. "I miss Grandpa" Then, I hug him and say, "Me too, buddy." They all miss you a lot, but we tell them fun stories about you and good stories about your hard work and love.

For your funeral, all your sons and grandsons wore one of your ties. I picked the one you used to make me wear when I was a deacon to pass the sacrament. It had a fat knot when I was 12 because it had to be tied so far down. I didn't like to wear ties. I still don't. But, every time I look at it, I will think of you and you teaching me of proper respect for the Lord and his commandments.

The girls made wreaths out of a lot of your ties. You have so many fun ones. Different colors, patterns, home-made and store bought.

We chose a wooden casket. It looked like something you would have made. Fine workmanship, simple, but well put together. It has finger joinery of simple pine slats, but lined with white satin. There were other options, but we thought this fit you best.

Becca loved your funeral. You probably got to talk to her. She laughed and giggled the whole time, just like the other funerals she's been to. We are sad because we miss you, but she is happy because her communication isn't hampered by her bodily constraints. I helped her put a white carnation on your casket. She just smiled. But she let everyone who wanted to, talk to her, snuggle, and hug her. She knows what people need, often more than they do.

There were so many flowers. Hundreds. From all sorts of people. Students from the classes you taught, the ward, friends, family. They were beautiful. I am sure you know every kind there were. You always taught us so much about plants. Even when we didn't want to learn. I do the same to my kids.

The funeral was nice, as funerals go. All the boys had a chance to talk. We all cried. Afterward, we hugged and talked of how amazing a father you were to all of us, each in a different way. We had a nice luncheon. We saw family we hadn't seen in years. Several of them mentioned how much it meant to them that you called them or visited them when they weren't feeling well. We cried and laughed some more.

Thanks for all you ever did for me and my little family. Thanks for all you are doing now for us on the other side of the veil.

Bye Dad. Love you. Can't Wait To See You Again,


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