Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Dad

Recently I lost my Dad.  He was sick for a long time, I guess technically, since I was in 4th grade, when he was diagnosed with liver problems from an unknown cause.  This past year was hard, he went into end stage liver disease.  My Dad was in and out of the hospital all the time.  These pictures are from a few years ago, when he was well enough to enjoy life.  Last week was his funeral, and this is what I said to honor his memory at the service.  I love you Dad, and we all miss you so much.

There are three people who made my Dad something that no one else could have made him - a grandfather.  G, Z and JP turned my Dad into Grandpop.  Psalm 128:6 says, "May you see your children's children!"  It also says, "peace be with Israel," so I am glad he lived to see one of them.  You can see from all the pictures the fun and special times we had together.  Some of my kids favorite memories of Grandpop are going to Disney World, his hats, the models he made for them, and who could forget the time Grandpop had that enormous french fry.  Those memories are such a gift.

In life, everyone we meet, from the sales clerk with the South Philly attitude to someone as important as your Dad, leaves you with a gift.  God brings these people into our lives as part of His plan for molding us.  My sweet and loving Father gave me many gifts.  The first gift he gave me was life saving.  My Mother was set on naming me Heidi, but my Dad took one look at little, newborn me, and said, "Nope, she looks like a Karen."  His first gift was my name.  Other gifts were tangible gifts, like my blue eyes or my ability to pack a trunk perfectly.  Some gifts involved life experiences, such as to why it is so important to have the right attitude in Disney World or you would miss the whole point.  My Dad was a very patient man, who always had a kind word, but he would get upset at those who were impatient, rude or lost their cool at the happiest place on earth.  It was sort of like hajj to him.  If you did not have the right attitude, it did not count.

Then there are the gifts that took a life time to give me, such as his patience.  My Dad was so patient.  I saw this displayed in the relationship between my Dad and my Grandmother.  I love my Grandmother, she was a generous woman and I have fond memories of her.  But lets just say it wasn't warmth that she try to convey to my Dad.  I can understand as a parent, that no body will ever be good enough for your little girl, but she took it above and beyond that.  What I can't figure out is that it was just so uncalled for.  My Dad adored my Mom.  He would do anything for her, all he wanted was for her to be happy.  As far as habits of a husband, my Dad always provided for his family, and he certainly was not a spender.  He did not drink, curse or smoke.  He was well educated.  I don't think I can even remember a time where my parents yelled at each other.  I mean, I know my kids can't say that.  My own husband's first thoughts of my Dad, was that he made him feel like an old friend.  However, despite being unjustly snubbed by my Grandmother, he stayed calm about it.  Where I think most people in his position, the minute her back was turned would call their mother in law a blankty blank blank.  Nope, not my Dad, not in front of me anyway.  Dad may have complained she used too much garlic in her cooking, or role his eyes and say to my Mom "Your Mother" or maybe even affectionately referred to her as "sergeant," but of course not to her face.  But that's it.  That's patience.

When someone dies, they usually leave us one last gift.  Sometimes it is a new outlook on our own lives. It may show us what is important.  Maybe it sparks a search of faith, that we never made time for before.  Perhaps, it makes us realize how precious life is and how short it can be. My Dad's last gift to me was realizing the importance of a small acts of kindness.   While it is the choices we make that define our character to others, it is the little kindnesses that show our true love and respect for each other.  It is how I know my Dad loved me and cared about me.  It is how I showed him how much I cared.  It makes me see how much other people love me.  This last gift is very precious to me, and I am sure that he left you a gift as well.  Even if you never met him, his gift to you maybe, through my loss of him, making you realize though there are many seasons of life, there is one we must all face - the aging and loss of our parents.  For those of you who knew him, he gave us so many pieces of himself, he is always around us.

1 comment:

  1. God Bless you and your family Karen. Thank you for sharing your father with all of us. He helped to give me the gift of your friendship, and I am very thankful for that.