This has been a unique season in my life. I would have never dreamt that I would bury my mom and my dad three months apart. My mother passed away in July and my father passed away Oct. 8th. I am still processing all that has happened—and the impact of my mom’s life, my dad’s life–and both of them on my life.
As I have reflected some on my dad’s life I see three seasons that were observable to me.
My Early Years: My memories of my dad during my early years were of a man who enjoyed life. He was vigorous—worked hard and enjoyed playing hard too. He loved to enter into a card game, or have company over for dinner, or take people out on his boat for a little skiing. He laughed a lot. He was a provider—that was his main expression of love towards me. He bought me my 1st car (a used one), my 2nd car (a brand new one), and helped me pick out my 3rd car (the first one I bought on my own). He took us on great vacations growing up. And he was always particular—about his house, his yard, and his cars.
His Middle Years: This season of my dad’s life was filled with confusion—about his job, his marriage, and himself. He tired of his career. He didn’t make many friends in Alabama where we lived during that season. He was more resigned about life than vigorous about life. There were not as many games—not as much company—certainly not as much fun or laughter. Yet, he was still particular—about his house, his yard, and his cars. Three were times during this season that I was both afraid for him and afraid of him.
His Latter Years: My dad took early retirement and announced to all that he was moving back to Clay Center, Kansas. This was a little bit of a shock and did not go over well with my mother. But she dutifully went. This is the town my dad grew up in—and for him I think it represented better times—greater happiness. And he experienced much of that upon returning to his roots. He did gravitate back towards the man I knew in my early years. He laughed more, entertained more, served more—simply enjoyed life more. He was still particular about his house, yard and cars—that never changed. But I think the most remarkable aspect was that he learned how to love more—in different ways. My mother had a severe stroke six years before her death. My dad only missed a handful of nights of having dinner with her in the nursing home through all of those years. I saw him do things and heard him say things towards my mom that I had never observed during my lifetime. He cared for her, served her—was devoted to her. I too began to experience this new found expression of love from him. It was during these years that, to my memory, I ever heard him verbally express his love for me. My dad learned how to choose to love.
His Final Days: I had prayed for my dad for years—mainly for his own salvation. To the best of my knowledge he finally made that choice during his last days of being alive. I was thrilled at the thought that he had finally embraced Jesus—and is now in His presence. I look forward to seeing you again Dad! Enjoy.