Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Two years ago tommorow is when my dad went home. In an instant his journey, his struggle, was over and he found himself in the presence of our God in a place I can only imagine. I smile to think of him surrounded by glories beyond my comprehension. Although even with a deep belief in victory over death through Jesus, the devastation of disease and the pain of saying goodbye is beyond words. On a day like today my mind can't help but recall some of the ugliness of death and the overwhelming emptiness of watching my dad's spirit slip away before I was ready. Although I don't suppose anyone is ever ready. To chase away those thoughts, I'll write about some better memories. After all, I just want to honor him and remember all he means to me.
He had carpenter's hands, big and strong and rough, beautiful. When I was little he would rub his stubbly cheeks on mine until they were pink. He smelled like wood chips and Old Spice aftershave. He would add lots of milk and sugar to my tea just so I would sit and drink with him. He had a lovely English accent and every year on my birthday he'd take me on a date. He wore this black pin-striped suit and I thought he was very dashing, just like Cary Grant in the old movies I loved. In the winter he would wear about three shirts and a coat in the house. He liked to trash-pick, and never threw anything away. He belted out hymns one beat ahead of the rest of the congregation. I used to wonder why he often cried when he read the Bible. He loved birds, art, poetry and nature and he made me love them as well. He worked with his hand's, he painted pictures, whittled, built and fixed.
I loved to watch him work, he would make me cinderella steps in wet cement. He grew roses and lots of other things in the garden. He was eccentric and made even the most ordinary scenarios hilarious. He was as hyper as a child on holidays. He loved England and never quite fit in in suburban New Jersey. He liked to travel and lived life to the fullest. He wasn't a perfect dad, but he was my dad and I always knew he loved me.
The other day I walked through a field in Chickamauga where my dad had walked with me arm in arm to meet my groom. I remembered that as I put the finishing touches on my flower crown and wedding dress, I looked up and met my father's deep grey eyes. He had a look of bewilderment, love and pride... the age old story of a man wondering when his baby girl became a woman. A precious moment that I will always hold dear along with thousands of others my dad gave me. How I miss him. How I love him, and how happy I am that he is home.