Thursday, June 14, 2007

Honor Thy Father

We had only a graveside service for my dad this past Monday. Besides the hospice chaplain, my husband, mother and I spoke briefly during the service.

Because I wanted people to remember him as I did rather than the invalid he had become after battling Parkinson's disease for almost 30 years, I shared the following thoughts and memories of him--it brought smiles, tears and laughter to many:

"I believe at some point in our lives we each recognize that we have become our parents in one way or another—I pity my daughters! For me, that realization began as far back as high school, and as recently as just a week or two ago. I’d like to share just a few ways how my dad has left his indelible mark on my life and personality.

One thing that stands out is how Dad (and mom) loved to travel! Consequently, by the time I was 18 I had been to over half of the states in the U.S. and traveled to two other countries—we had lots of great vacations! Thanks dad for all the wonderful trips!

Dad thoroughly enjoyed his work as a bank examiner and I grew to share his passion for banking. I recall one time while I was in high school I asked him (probably with a bit of attitude) what was so great about being an examiner? and he told me with great enthusiasm and a twinkle in his eyes, “because you get to catch the crooks!” At the time I didn't really get that—but it wasn't long until I was gladly following in his foot steps and got the same thrill out of “catching the crooks”. I loved sharing stories with him of the latest “crook” I'd encountered! Thanks dad for passing on your strong work-ethic, and your stoic way of not being swayed by “sob stories”!

Dad once gave me some advice that I'll never forget, although at the time I didn't particularly appreciate it! During my senior year in high school I got a job as a bank teller. One evening I called home to let mom and dad know that I was going to be late because my cash drawer was short some money and I had to find it. In his most serious and “fatherly” voice he told me, “Well you know, it's always the last place you look”. It took me a minute to fully appreciate what he'd said—and see the humor in it! But you know, he was right—it always WAS the last place I looked—and it holds true even to this day in just about every situation! Gee, thanks dad for such good advice!

Dad was great at finding and/or making great car deals—I think it was mom who said that used car dealers hated to see dad coming cause he often left 'em crying! It was dad who found my first car for me—a white 1970 Mustang—I loved that car! And, the ONLY reason I had $650 to buy that car was because dad had faithfully marched me (along with my sister and brother) down to the bank when we were little so that we could put part of our allowance in our savings accounts. Thanks dad for your wisdom and example!

And lastly, a little over a week ago while I was at the nursing home feeding dad his lunch, one of his hospice nurses came by to check on him. She and I were chatting a bit and she mentioned that she was an Arkansas fan. I told her how dad and mom had dear friends who were Razorback fans and how dad loved to call them on the phone after their team had lost a game and he would enthusiastically yell “Sueweeee”, and hang up! Even though dad hadn't been very interested in our conversation up until that point, a big grin quickly emerged across his face as I told the nurse about his antics! I think this pretty much explains my “rabid passion” for MY team of choice—even though dad favored that OTHER team in Norman! Thanks dad for your passion!

Today my heart is heavy and aches that dad is no longer here, but I'm so thankful for God's grace in giving me a dad who has left me such a rich legacy—Thanks dad!"


Clarissa said...

Oh, Connie. That made me cry. Thanks for sharing those examples from your Dad's life. What a blessing your Dad was to you!

Sometimes it seems that when the funeral is over, everyone just expects you to "go on" with your life. And, while to some degree we must, the pain continues to linger in our hearts. Know that I am continuing to lift you up in prayer.

Connie said...

Clarissa: I so very much wanted people to "know" my dad as he was before he became so ill--I'm glad you enjoyed it. And yes, there is that push to "go on" but the pain lingers, consequently I decided to start posting to my blog again and chose to "kick it off" with something very light-hearted!