A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial day!

Today is a day to remember those who have served our country, those who have gone before us, also. Well, I didn't visit my dad's grave today.

Let the collective gasp subside.

I loved my dad. He was and is my prince. My husband is very similar to him, and I am sure that this is no chance of fate. I obviously sought (finally) a good and safe and reliable and strong man, and then I married the poor guy!!! I am grateful every day for the example my dad set of what a husband and a father should be. I see it in my husband and am grateful for that too.

But, no one can ever live up to the man that my dad was. Fair or unfair, that is the way it is. You know how you are at 12, as a girl? Your dad is still superman, he is still Daddy, and you are still his princess. Well, that is the age I was when my daddy died. So, for me, he is forever that man. I never got to know him in his full dimension as I would have if he lived. I never lived through the times of only seeing his mistakes, of feeling like he was old-fashioned or didn't understand me. But on the other hand, I never got to know him fully, as the real human being he really was. So, how can anyone live up to what I have in my memory. They can't and it has taken me years to understand that, and that what I remember is not the total reality. But, that said, he was an amazing man.

My dad came from a family with five children, he was in the middle somewhere. His mother died when he was 17 and his father remarried a woman with five children, so that makes ten. They were a farming family, they raised chickens, and they had a feed mill. I do know that. So, there was hard work and lots of it. I know that my dad got into some sort of trouble as a teenager, which he overcame. I know that my dad entered the military and traveled far from the small town of Seymour Wisconsin. I know that he was a supply seargent - but am not totally sure what that means except that he had to be responsible. I know that he served between the Korean and Vietnam wars so did not see action (thank God). I know he was in Italy for a time. I know that he came back and entered college, the first of his family to do so. I don't know if they understood why he wanted to do that. I know that my parents married following my dad's graduation, and that my mother also graduated. I know that my dad was concerned about being able to provide for his family, and at that time the pill had just come out or he would not have married. I know that my parents went out to Arizona to live so my dad could get his doctorate. That was totally unheard of in his family. I don't believe that any of his immediate siblings attended college (the five bio children, I am not sure about the step-siblings). I know that my grandfather was very proud of him, and that my dad loved his family fiercely. I know that my dad was a devoted father and husband and took great care and pride in his family. I know that he loved me no matter what, and wanted the best for me.

So, why didn't I go to his grave today?

Not because it is far to drive, though it is about an hour from where we live.

Not because I didn't think of him often, because I did.

Not because I don't still love him and still miss him, because I do.

But, you know what? He isn't there.

He is not there under that ground, even though his earthly remains are. He is gone to heaven to be with our Lord. I know that for certain. I know that at that place, at the cemetery, the only thing there is the headstone with his name on it, and I don't have to see it to remember him.

I could go there to show respect, but would it matter? I don't think so. He never wanted to be buried, to have that headstone, to think of his family coming to such a place. But, at the time of his early death at 44, it was too painful for his father to think of cremation or no burial. And my mother understood that, and knew that all those things at the cemetery were for the living, and my grandfather needed that. It didn't matter to my dad anymore, and he would understand anyway.

I know that every action I take plays out my dad's legacy. I am his legacy, and is my brother, my mom, my children and my brother's children. I do try to live out life as he would have been proud of. I think he would look at what I have done, and while not approving of everything (not like I approve of everything I have done either!!!), I think he would be pleased. I think he would be happy. That is his legacy: that I follow my Lord, that I love my husband and children, that I strive to make a difference however I can, big or small or whether anyone sees or not. I think that lives on for him.

So, today, to remember him, I lived my life. I loved my husband and children, I made meals, I washed laundry, I laughed with the kids, I helped Zeri fly his kite, I applauded Kiley's accomplishments, I snuggled a tired Solly after a hard day of play, I tried to speak to Alex's character, I laughed with Faith as she played in the water. I spoke kindly to my husband, tried to make him laugh, worked alongside him, and prayed throughout the day.

That is my memorial for my dad.

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman titled "With Hope". I linked the song with a tribute to his daughter who was killed in an accident this last week, but it also speaks hugely to how we grieve with hope. As Christians, we know that we will see our loved ones again. We grieve with hope. And it is such an amazing song, I need to get the cd it is on.

So, With Hope, we continue to move on, and remember our loved ones.

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