Unexpectedly on March 15th just after midnight my father passed away. I remember getting the phone call and waking up my husband frantic. He was so shocked that at first he told me it was just a nightmare and to try and go back to sleep.
Sadly, it was all too real.
On Tuesday, March 19th I did the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I kissed and said goodbye to my Daddy.
Even at almost 38 years old I was still a total Daddy’s girl. He was the guy I measured everyone else up against. He was the one I called for advice and with questions.
But through this all I have learned somethings. Things I am even thankful for.
I am thankful that it was a heart attack and it was quick. My dad had several strokes over the years and about 7 years ago he had the worst one of them all. It left his left side paralyzed. Eventually he did regain use of his left leg and learned to walk with a cane. But he never did regain use of his left arm. He hated that this forced him to rely on my mom for help with basic care.
I know that we are all so lucky that it was not another stroke. One that was worse than any of the others. I really believe if he had been forced to any sort of long term care he would have lost all hope.
You see the past 7 years instead of saying ‘if I can use my arm again’ or ‘if I can drive again’, my dad would always say ‘when I use my arm again’. And if you ever questioned if it would happen he would get angry with you. He believed with all his heart that God would heal him.
I think we all believed right along with him which is what made it even more shocking.
The second thing I have learned it what a great comfort it is to know he is in Heaven. There is zero doubt in my mind and I know that someday I will see him again. I know that right now he is healed. No more cane. No more paralyzed arm. Just my Daddy running around and praising Jesus.
The third thing I am thankful for is that I have zero regrets. I loved my dad so much and he knew it. He loved me and I knew it. He was proud of me and took the time to tell me that. There is nothing I wish I had said to him. There is nothing I wish he had said to me.
Take a minute and tell your loved ones what they mean to you. Don’t let another day pass without letting them know. I learned that it can come to an end all too soon.
And just because I want to everyone to know a bit about the man that was my dad I am going to share the eulogy that I gave at his funeral. It is a small glimpse into who he was.
“My mom always said growing up that her mother would tell her not to sing at the dinner table or you would marry a crazy man. I think my dad spent the last 40 years of their life together trying to prove that true.
He would tell jokes and laugh so hard just thinking about the punch line that he could never finish it.
He would order dessert both before and after his meal at restaurants. If the sever would question him he would always respond with ‘my mom isn’t here’.
My husband and I have spent the past couple of days talking about how to best describe him. And in the end the best thing to sum him up was man of God.
He loved God more than anything else in this world and I was so proud to have had him as an example of a father and a husband.’
I love you Daddy.