It was an honor to be at his side in his last hours before he slipped into eternity to be with Jesus. As we left his room that night, my mom leaned over and whispered in his ear to meet her at the eastern gate. Talk about a tear jerker. Still gets me.
As I grieved for the loss of my dad, I can only describe what I felt as a sweet ache. I think of him, not just in the years of my growing up, but in the whole context of his life. I see him as a young boy, a fun-loving teenager, a soldier overseas, a husband, a hard-working farmer, an adored grandfather.
I remember Dad as a man stressed out by life when we were growing up. I can understand why now. He had the never-ending work of dairy farming, the pressure of staying afloat when others were losing their farms, the responsibility of providing for his family, and chronic sleep deprivation. He also had four teenagers in the house at the same time. And, I am ashamed to admit we were not always the most grateful and supportive of kids, especially during those tumultuous years.
But after we all left home, Dad became more relaxed. Mom said that when they became empty nesters is when the fun began.
My dad grew sweeter with age. All of us kids remarked on this as we were planning his funeral. He was the most tender, gentle and grateful person you’d ever meet.
As I grow older, I hope that my kids and grandkids can say the same of me.
Paige and Matt just announced they are expecting in October, on my birthday no less. It’s our turn. Let the fun begin!
|The fun begins!|