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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dad

It's been an interesting week. I'm just trying to get back totally into the swing of things. Some may not know, but I lost my Dad unexpectedly at the age of 56 on August 30th. My Mom had the hard task of planning Dad's funeral on their 38th anniversary -- that was a difficult day. It just seemed surreal to be picking out a casket and making arrangements for Dad. It still feels that way, four weeks later.

We had spent over 4 days in the hospital with Dad in intensive care from a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of his brain. Every time we spoke to the doctors, hoping for some good news, it just didn't come. I could tell that they desperately wanted to give us some hope; I certainly wished they could. On Wednesday morning, the 30th, the neurologist prepared us for the next 24 hours by informing us that in his opinion that would be the longest that Dad could last. He used the words, "his death is imminent". It still didn't really sink in.

I went about the morning, trying to make sure everything and everyone was taken care of; praying for Dad, and certainly for Mom. In a moment of reality, I asked the Lord to allow me to be there in the room with him when he passed. Determined doesn't even describe the emotion I felt in regards to being there with him as he left this world.

That afternoon, at around 5:30pm, my Mom's pastor came out into the waiting room and told me that I needed to go back "right now". I knew it was happening. God answered my prayer, and I was able to be at my Dad's side, holding his hand, rubbing his arm, telling him how much I loved him and that everything was going to be OK and I would take care of Mom. I hope he was able to hear me. Either way, I took comfort in remembering the first 24 hours after his stroke, when he could still understand me and I had the blessing of being able to say one last time, "Dad, I love you."

And just like that, at 5:50pm, he was gone. It still doesn't seem real. It seems more like one of those dreams that you wake up from, which are so vivid and so realistic, that you can't immediately decide whether it really happened. I know it did, but how do you grasp something like that?

The Lord almost immediately impressed upon my heart some words that I believe He wanted me to speak at Dad's funeral. I know that it must have been from Him, because of the way it came to me. I would like to share the words, as best as I can remember them, which I hope and pray honors my Dad for the great man that he was.

"First of all, I would like to thank everyone so much for all of the prayers, encouragement, and support. We have been so blessed by so many family and friends. I would like to specially thank Riverside Baptist Church, Sugarloaf Community Church, and Cypresscare, and there are so many others. Dad would have been very pleased by the love you have all shown for our family.

As I thought about Dad in the last couple of days, many words and thoughts have come to mind. Many of you knew Dad, but I'm sure that some did not know him personally. So I am going to share these words and thoughts with you. For those who did know Dad, just remember. For those who did not know him, I hope this gives you a good glimpse of what a wonderful man he really was.

Dad was:
  • Brilliant
  • Confident
  • Fiercely Protective
  • Mom, he was romantic
  • Reliable
  • He had the highest integrity, and taught me to always act with the highest integrity
  • He was ornery, sometimes
  • He'd get mad, but be over it in minutes
  • Trustworthy
  • Private
  • Hilarious, he had a great sense of humor. He really was a funny guy. I don't know if it is good or bad, but I think I inherited a bit of that from him.
  • Opinionated. You never had to guess where he stood on anything.
  • Loving, in his own way
  • Loyal
  • Particular, about his things and about his family
  • Very unique, there will never be another like him
  • Simple
  • Un-assuming
  • Not pretentious. He didn't think too much of himself and didn't think too much of those who did. He never put on airs - he was who he was.
  • But the most important word to me to describe him was -- DADDY.
Thank you all, and God bless you."

I miss him already. My daughter, Hannah, was sitting in my lap a couple of weeks ago and was obviously upset about Granddaddy. She said, "Daddy, I don't think I will ever get over Granddaddy dying." I replied, "Honey, you won't ever get over it. My Granddaddy died when I was about your age, and I still get upset about it sometimes. That's OK. You will always miss him, and you won't get over it. But, I promise as time goes on, it will get a little easier and a little easier."

It's hard to see that right now, but I know what Dad would have said (I've heard him say it so many times): "Death is a part of life, and life goes on."

Thanks Dad. For everything.
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