Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What I didn't know... what I know now

It's been a year today that I lost my Dad. I don't think anyone could tell me how it would feel.  Before he died, he was in so much pain, I just wanted relief for him. But I didn't know I would miss him every day thereafter.  I didn't know that every thing he ever taught me would re-surface as I thought of him. I didn't know that every time I chopped a potato I would think of him and how I knew he would tell me there is a more efficient way to do it and then go to show me how and end up chopping rest of the potatoes for me. I can't pick up a knife and not think of him. I didn't know that I wouldn't be able to listen to the song "Home" by Michael Buble' without crying every time I heard it, no matter where I might be. I didn't know how much I would miss seeing his anticipated look when we finally arrived at his home and of course the welcoming hug. I didn't know how often I would look back and think of all the times I could have spent a minute longer with him and didn't.  He wasn't a big talker by trade, but in the last months he didn't want to be alone so he would always try to keep a conversation going. I wish I had spent more time.  It just felt like the end would never come. I always would have another chance... but those chances are gone. The end does come and so does regret.

I didn't know what greatness was. I thought it was doing big things, having a big stage, touching lots of lives. I found it was instead in the small things. It was taking care of your family and always being there for them. It was reaching out to your neighbor and lifting another's burden. It was letting others know you love them and backing up those words with action. I found it was doing your duty day in and day out, whether you wanted to or not because you fulfill your responsibilities and don't let others down. I found it was doing the right things whether anyone else saw or not. I found my Dad to be a man of profound greatness. I knew it before, but so much more now.

When I got the call that he was going downhill for the last time, I sped the 10 hours home to be with him. He was mostly unconscious when I got there. I got to see his last words spoken though. It was to his neighbors, the Knightons. When Dad saw them, an urgency came across his being, he had something important he must tell them. But Dave spoke first and told him, " Ford, we love you and we will take care of Dianne. You don't have to worry, we got her." When my Dad heard that, the urgency left, his last responsibility was going to be taken care of and he was at peace. He made out the words, I love you...and those were the last words he uttered. I wish there had been more. I wish we could have had a big family hugging party at the end with him and all said the words in our hearts, but if they hadn't been said earlier they were left unsaid... I hope he can hear them now. I didn't know that I would still pray for my Dad after he was gone. I just tell God how much I love him and miss him and to let him know that... ok? I didn't know that at every special occasion, his absence would be immensely felt, but also on the flip side I didn't know that at some very special moments I would get to feel him so close that I knew without doubt he was there.

When I remember him, I think about those who didn't ever get to know my Dad and how they missed out. I guess they will have to get to know him through those whom he left behind. I think I can only honor him now by my life. Try to live the way he did. Be kind, be compassionate, have time for others, never leave a conflict without the other person knowing that I still love them, be generous, if someone else lacks and I have... to give- let it be theirs. I will never be the amazing person he was, but I will try to reflect what he taught me, so others can know my Dad. I can't help but think of the Savior when I think of him. He mirrored the Savior in so many ways. I know Christ must have meant so much to him because of how hard my Dad tried to live like Him. I can only try to do the same.
Dad- thanks for your example. Today I join with all the others to pay my respects and express my gratitude for having had you in my life. You made a profound difference and I will always remember and never forget.  I hope you know it.
Love always- your daughter Tina