My brother died of renal cancer which he had fought for almost eight years, but my dad was playing golf with friends and walking on the beach just days before he became gravely ill. They were both anchors in my world, and their deaths have made me cherish life with all its ups and downs.
My dad’s death, in particular, has changed me in permanent ways. He lived by example more than preaching, and that was true of him to the very end. Some lessons I learned from my Dad include…
- To Be Honest: Dad said, “if you are honest in life, you will be able to sleep well at night” – and he slept very well. In a world where little “slips of the truth” are accepted and often applauded, Dad was defiantly honest. Through him I learned that by being honest and consistent with others many bridges can be built between people.
- To Laugh Through Life: Everyone has hardships in life, my arthritis diagnosis at age 11 was one of my toughest. It’s a painful disease, especially at first, and my dad was always there to help me see the comedy in some of my toughest situations. Through him I learned that laughter makes anything bearable and often fun.
- To Live with Humility: Dad never sought to be the brightest object in the room (even though he often was). He was most interested in lifting other people up. He genuinely cared for and about other people – especially his family. Through him I learned the joy of learning about, and cheerleading for, other people.
- To Stay Faithful: Dad was not an evangelical Christian by any means, but he was very firm in his faith. He knew who his Lord was and never wavered from Him no matter what the societal pressures of the time. His calm confidence in God was a testament of faith to me as I navigate the sometimes murky waters of this world.
The grief that tries to shackle me now I know I will get through somehow because my dad was all about living and enjoying life. Me not pushing back with smiles and optimism would be disrespecting him, and that I will not do. Goodbye Dad, I will love you forever, until we meet again.