For the last eleven years, this day has been a sad day for me. On August 7, 1999, my father passed away and went home to be with the Lord.
I’m trusting he’s with the Lord…trusting because I never asked him where he was in his relationship with Jesus. Trusting because I never brought myself to making sure his salvation was secure. If only I could erase time and do it over…I would make sure. If only…if only…
As I trust, I miss him terribly. Even after eleven years of his passing, I miss him. I miss his dry sense of humor. I miss how he used to call Zach “Jasper.” I miss how he used to hold Ali on his lap sitting at the kitchen table. (Zach was two and Ali was five when he passed away.) I miss his laugh. I miss his smile. I miss him.
Dad passed away on a hot and sunny Saturday…just like today. Mom, the kids, and I went to the university hospital to spend the morning with him. He couldn’t talk as he was on a ventilator…but he knew who we were. We spent most of the morning there, and decided to let him rest and we would go home to return later in the day. Mom received a call early afternoon from the hospital, saying Dad was fading, and we might want to return as quickly as possible.
I drove down quickly, never quite being able to prepare myself for this. Bill took Ali and Zach to his sister’s. He met me there as my brothers and their families were arriving. We cried. We shared stories. We laughed at the things we used to do as a family. I still believe today that he could hear us, and that he must have been smiling on the inside as we shared. The memories we shared were priceless! Tina left her father’s birthday party to come down by herself to be with me…and the party was at her home. What a friend! Dad passed away with all of us standing by his bed around 11pm. Tears were unstoppable, and life felt like it was draining from me.
Our wedding anniversary is on the 8th, and I was thankful God took him home a day earlier, and not on our wedding anniversary. That year our anniversary faded in the background.
Yesterday on our way home from our family vacation, we came upon a funeral procession. I find that I still get a lump in my throat and pit in my stomach every time I come upon one, and when I do, I do what my parents taught me to do…pull over for the funeral procession to pass by, to give honor and respect to the family of the one they are about to bury.
The day we buried my dad was a blur. I remember the procession going past my parents’ home, my childhood home. I remember standing at his gravesite, the grave that my brothers and Bill dug for my father. I remember the trumpet and shots ringing. I remember getting back into the car, feeling numb, and wanting to crawl into that grave myself. I remember the taste of tears and how tired I was of the pain of grief.
Yes, time has eased the pain, but the pain is still there. I trust God has Dad in His presence, and that gives me great comfort. I trust that I will see Dad again, and be reunited with him someday soon. I am thankful today for Dad, and for his influence he had in my life. I know that his influence helped shape who I am today, and in turn, helped shape Ali and Zach as well. I love him and miss him greatly!
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