Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Father's Day

I remember my Dad from later in his life, not as the young, unmarried, man who left a farm made useless by Oklahoma’s dust bowl. I remember most the years he spent caring for my Mom. By her side, steadying her movements, traveling when many ALS patients could not. Mom couldn’t turn over so he woke several times at night to make her comfortable. He became the cook, not only doing an excellent job of it but also leaving us a large book of his collected recipes to enjoy. For a short few years he wore khaki’s and drove a pickup pulling a camper trailer. When Mom passed away, he spent what time he had fishing Oklahoma and Texas lakes.

He accomplished most of what people now call a “bucket list.” The year before he passed away we were able to take a cruise to Alaska, one place he had always wanted to visit. Dad was 83 and we also took our granddaughter, 14. A trip of a lifetime!

The one thing he did not get to do was to see an x-ray of his own skull. He always wanted to see if there were cracks and scars from an accident at fourteen. He was laying down in the backseat of a car when it was struck by another. He came to in a room he did not recognize, with a dark-haired lady sitting beside his bed. He asked her where he was and she said at the doctor’s house. He asked, “Do I know you?” and she left the room crying. He had been unconscious for five days and had not recognized his own mother.

His short-term memory was affected for the rest of his life. Studying each morning what might have been forgotten from the day before, he graduated valedictorian of his class. For years he worked as a roofer in California. Returning to Oklahoma when his mother became ill, he went to work for American Airlines in security. He carried a notebook with his daily routines, careful not to forget his duties. I have a sketch made for his retirement with signatures from co-workers who admired him.

My Dad’s school held a reunion each year, though the school itself had closed, consolidated with others in the area. The year Mom passed away, he was asked to give the blessing. Later he told us about it. As he prayed, his eyes were drawn upward to movement. In front of him, Mom was walking toward him, bright in white and smiling. He could never quite describe the peace he felt afterward, the assurance that the Lord had allowed to him.

These brief memories cannot touch upon the love my father extended to those around him. They do, however, remind me that some are not as fortunate to have such memories. Some receive them from a step-father, some not so lucky are raised without a father’s love. I think for them it is harder to understand God the Father.

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. [John 8:42 KJV]

Having no experience with a father’s love for his children, how can they relate to:

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? [Matthew 7:11 KJV]

Much less:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [John 3:16 KJV]

I know that I shall see my father in heaven. Both of them. One provided life for me here, the other provided life for both of us eternally. One I remember with love and gratitude each and every day for what he provided in my life, the other I worship because He loved the unlovable and provides for me forever. Every day is my Father’s day.

(The photo was taken on our Alaska trip. Daddy was a fireman for Union Pacific during the war. The cruise gave us two opportunities for train rides, too.)

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post. I too have a lifetime of memories of my dad.


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