This is the first time I’ve ever observed Father’s Day without my own dad’s feet firmly planted on this earth. I’ve thought about him all day, but not with sadness. Instead, I thought about him with thankfulness and joy that I was blessed to be his daughter.
I struggled all day with the want to write something to honor him, but it wasn’t until tonight that I realized I’d already done so. In April I delivered his eulogy and those same words are appropriate today. So instead of writing something else, I’m just going to share a part of what I wrote for his funeral.
I asked my sisters and mother to tell me something they would like to convey about him. I gotta tell ya, it’s hard to boil down so many years of life into just a sentence or two.
Terri said he was a really good daddy and made each one of us feel like a Daddy’s girl. We never felt like he loved one of us any more than the others. Actually, that’s not entirely true. We were just arguing two days ago over who his favorite daughter was.
Michele said that although Dad was a quiet and studious man, he also had a great sense of adventure. As far back as she can remember, we were always getting in the car for a road trip; whether it was just for a ride around Los Angeles to see the sights, or to one of the National Parks, or up the coast of California. Some of our longer trips were to see family, but often seeing family was a stop on the way to seeing some interesting things, like the Redwood National Forest, or where the California Gold Rush happened. It would be easy to say Dad just wanted us girls to see some different things, but she believes it was really the chance to see God’s great creation. To this day, she still enjoys road trips, but her idea of one is to go see what God has created and marvel at the beauty of nature; she owes that love of God’s beautiful creation to her dad.
And the true expert on my dad, my mother, simply said he was a wonderful husband of nearly 63 years and a wonderful daddy. There’s not much else that needs to be said.
This past week we’ve spent a lot of time strolling down memory lane. We have rejoiced in the fact that our husband and father is no longer frail, but whole and perfect and singing with the rest of the saints.
We’ve reminisced about how much he enjoyed life with his wife and three daughters and how he seemed to be the most content when our little family was together.
We’ve marveled over how smart he was, how he never flaunted that intelligence and never made anyone feel like they weren’t just as smart.
We’ve laughed about his sense of humor and some of the funny things he said or did over the years. And believe me when I say there was a lot.
We’ve grimaced over the times in our lives that, as his children, he disciplined us. And we agreed that we pretty much deserved everything we got. We also agreed those times were pretty far and few between.
We’ve smiled as we pictured him dancing down the golden streets, umbrella in hand, while the heavenly band plays “When the Saints Go Marching In”.
We’ve talked about his knowledge and understanding of the scriptures and how he served God in his community and through every position imaginable in his church.
He appreciated good music – whether it was classical, jazz, gospel – and passed that appreciation down.
He was an excellent dancer and boy, could he and my mother cut a rug. Sometimes to the embarrassment of their teen-aged daughters.
He made a great school tutor, though there was a time during algebra in high school I discovered he wasn’t quite as patient as I had always thought.
He was a man of few words and didn’t express his emotions much, but we never felt less than loved and safe and secure.
I would love to be able to share all of our memories with you, but Gary says we’ve only got the funeral home for so long. So I’ll leave you with this final reflection.
There is a common thought among Christians that our perception of God is largely related to our relationship with our own fathers. I’m not sure how true that is, but in my case, it makes a lot of sense. My view of my Heavenly Father has been of a kind and loving God, a just God who disciplines accordingly and not without reason, and a Father who is enamored with his children.
Daddy, those characteristics describe you to a T.