Thursday, September 24, 2009

Missing Daddy

OK. Let's see if I can do this.

For those of you that don't know, I lost my Daddy, suddenly, on August 29th. Daddy, who was in excellent health passed away from a massive brain bleed. I've been in Texas, with Mom since then, but I drove back home on Tuesday. It was so hard to drive away from her, but at the same time, it was so good to be home. I've been in a strange suspended state these past weeks. There has been so much to tend to, but Daddy's last gift has made wading through all the paperwork so much easier, He left us 6 pages of instructions of what to do in the event of his death. He updated it every year or so and always sent me a copy. Of course, I never even glanced at it. I simply tucked it into our safe box and never gave it a second thought. Now I marvel at it. He documented step by step who we should call and what we should do. Everything from where everything was located to what we needed to bring to each appointment. At a time when the world seemed to be turned upside down, we were able to handle one thing at a time. DH and the kids stayed with me for a week and then headed back home. DS needed to get back to college, DD has just started taking college courses as well, and DH had to get back to the ranch.

I have always been madly in love with my DH, but I have to tell you that I am now even more in love with him than I could ever imagine. This man was there in every way possible. He did things that needed to be done before we even knew they needed to be done. He was the voice of reason when all reason had left us. He was the quiet rock that held us up when we thought we were drowning. How on earth the good Lord brought this man to me I'll never know, but I am so thankful that He did.

Mom and Daddy have been truly blessed with incredible friends and the outpouring of love was simply overwhelming. Some of their friends stayed back during the service to set up a reception at the house and accept the ridiculous amount of food that poured in. They shooed people away at a decent time and cleaned the entire house afterwards. My cousin flew in from Germany, friends came from all over the state and country, and it was simply overwhelming to see and hear about how Daddy touched each and every one.

My Daddy was a gentle soul who had an amazing sense of humor. His infectious laugh will always make me smile. He was the smartest man I knew - so intelligent and I don't know anyone who didn't love and respect him. When I had a question and would ask DH, he would often answer, "Call and ask your Dad." He knew so much about so many things yet he would never admit it. He was quiet and humble, but always the first to lend a helping hand. The friends he made throughout his life remained close to him through the many years. He was the best Daddy and the perfect Opa to our kids. Oh my, how his eyes would light up at the sight of them and they simply adored him! I honestly don't feel worthy of being his daughter.

I will treasure the endless memories. The times I crawled into his lap for comfort. The times he taught me to always take pride in a job well done. The way he taught me to look to the Lord for guidance. The look of pride in his eyes when I waved my college diploma in the air. The day he walked me down the aisle. The first time he held his grandchildren. The way his eyes would sparkle when they would run to him, yelling, "Opa!". The list goes on.

He often sent me things in the mail and I will miss those envelopes. When I arrived back home and sorted through the mail, there was an envelope from him. The last one. I haven't been able to open it yet, because as long as I don't, I will always be able to look forward to reading one more note from him.

Daddy was born in Ulm, Germany in 1935, to a family who often didn't have enough to eat. He joined the US Air Force in 1957 and came to the United States on a ship with $5 in his pocket. He had tours in Greenland, Iceland, Turkey, and then he was sent back to Germany where he met my Mom. They married and she came back with him to a country where she couldn't speak the language or drive a car. Mom and Daddy honestly lived the 'American Dream' and they are part of what Tom Brokaw calls "The Greatest Generation". They scrimped and saved and helped people along the way. They built a beautiful life together and somehow got stuck with a daughter who took the road less traveled, but always was thankful for their guidance and love.

Daddy once started to write about his life and I often urged him to work on it and pestered him with questions about how far he'd written. I found that manuscript the other day. He dedicated it to me, but had only gotten as far as the age of 16. No matter, although I wish he had been able to complete it, I will treasure each and every word, as well as each and every moment we had together.

I apologize for my ramblings, but writing has always been cathartic for me and this piece would not be complete without the following:

I am a Daddy's girl and I often thought that the world would cease to exist should he pass away, and although I am convinced it tilted on it's axis, I have been amazed by God's grace each and every step. I would look back on the day and wonder how did I manage to speak to a roomful of Citizen Alumni Police Officer Association members, or how was I able to make sense of the 2 hr meeting with the financial advisor, or how could I put together a slide show for the service at the Funeral Home on Thursday evening. Simply put.

I didn't.

I wasn't.

I couldn't.

God did.

God was.

God could.

And each and every day I was amazed at how He carried me through each and every second. That's not to say it wasn't hard because it was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced, but I was able to do all that needed to be done because:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

And throughout this I have felt His presence, His arms, His touch, His love more than ever and He will continue to be by my side.

Even at a time like this; I am thankful. For every moment with Daddy. That he did not suffer. For my family. For my friends. That the Lord is in control and that He loves us even more than we can possibly imagine.

A few days after Daddy's passing I received a devotion from Max Lucado. It was a free download for Chapter 6 in his new book "Fearless" and it touched me greatly. I'll add the link here:

God's timing really is perfect because this came at the perfect time. God's timing is always perfect and at a time like this, that's hard to understand, but I believe it. Grace is an amazing gift.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. They are all truly appreciated. I know all of this will take time, but I know too, and am comforted by the fact, that Daddy is finally truly home.
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