Friday, October 29, 2010

A Tribute To My Father

I am trying to adjust.  This new way of thinking, living, doing.  You see, my father passed away earlier this month.  And, even now, almost 4 weeks later, I still can't believe it.  I think it's all a bad dream.  I relive over and over the last conversation we ever had.  Not knowing, it would be our last conversation.  Talking about how great he felt, about my garden, the weather, and not having to cut my lawn for three weeks because of the lack of rain over the summer.  I want to remember every word we said to each other that night but I can't.  Because I thought I was going to talk to him again.

I did talk him.  In the last hours of his life.  I told him that I loved him and he was the best father a son could ever hope for.  He didn't respond.  He couldn't respond.  But, I was assured he could hear me.  And, I thought to myself, 'why didn't I tell him all those things when he could understand?'  Because, in my family, you didn't say it in words.  You said it in actions.  And it was understood because you can see the love in the things we do for each other.

In the first 80 years of his life, my father was never in a hospital.  Not even when he was born.  The family story was my grandmother refused to pay the doctor when he showed up at the house because he wasn't there when my father was born.  ('Why should I pay?  You didn't do anything!')   But the last two years were very difficult for him.  We joked with my father and told him he saved up all his sick time for the those years.

He fought a brave fight.  Never complained.  Okay, only once.  When he couldn't get his driver's license earlier this year.  He didn't want to be reliant on my mother to drive him to get his haircut.  Wanted to do it himself.  Even though he could barely walk. 

The night he was dying, we looked in the Bible for words to comfort us.  We found, what we thought, were the exact words to describe my father in 2 Timothy 4:7:

I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith:

Dad, I will miss your wisdom, your kindness, your advice, and your love.  I will miss talking about the weather, the garden, the Steelers, fixing things around the house and fishing.  I could never have asked for a better father than you.  The pain is over, Dad.  Rest in Peace.