I have been thinking about my Father the last few days. I was thinking about him when I was growing up, throughout my life and remembering him at the end of his life.
He was a character without-a-doubt, complete with a sassy sense of humor. He was born in Bridgeport CT, on February 26, 1929. This explained his love of New England especially freshly caught Maine lobster. He was the youngest of three, his sister Kay and his older brother Luie. He spoke of his sister often calling her his best friend when he was growing up. He missed her so much always.
A kid when he married Mom at age 19, he would be the most hardworking, loving man a wife and family could imagine. When I think about it, he really loved Mom. The kind of love you don’t often get to experience in our world today. He loved her so unconditionally hoping to provide everything in his power for her and for us children. His love for Mom always felt like would last for eternity. He was a selfless man who gave whatever he had, not expecting anything himself. As a factory worker, then eventually a supervisor he would take pride in our house, yard with an above ground pool and rose bushes that popping color around our entire home. His factory job provided for all the essentials for our family, but wouldn’t be enough for any extra’s. He created a bicycle repair business in our garage. He would clean, repair and sell bicycles to save for special gifts for Mom, or weekend trip for our family.
Starring into my yard this morning, remembering his image sitting on the ground trimming rosebushes. I could see him standing behind a smokey barbecue in his swimming suit with a grill packed with pork ribs. I imagined him laying under a car in the driveway fixing my car so I could finish college. I can smell him popping a brown grocery bag full of popcorn preparing for a marathon of black and white movies on our console television. These images flipped through my head like I was holding a toy slide view master.
“John, when I am gone you remember I told you these things…” Promise me he would say, I responded: “Ok Dad, I promise to remember.”
Here are the things he told me I should remember…
- I am so proud of you John.
- You are going to do amazing things in your life.
- I see you can accomplish anything you put your mind to John.
- You are a very generous man, but giving starts at home.
- Please slow down and take care of yourself.
- I love you, John.
- John, I miss you, you need to come home.
- Hey now, you can’t give up faith, keep believing.
- God provides in his timing, we need to have patience.
- We got this, there is always a way we just have to keep trying.
- Stop working so hard, take time and enjoy your life.
- I think the world of what you are doing.
- One day I want to be at one of your lectures.
The one thing I won’t ever forget was my Father’s deep faith throughout his life, but especially at the end. Dad had many health issues. I remember calling him and asking, “Dad do you need anything?” and he would reply, “Yes, a new body.” He wore out his knees, his heart got weak, he struggled with cancer all while challenged with a muscle disease that weakened him.
There is one thing in him that never weakened. It was his spirit, his faith in God’s plan right up until he took his last breath.
I said, “Hey Dad, the treatment for your lymphoma isn’t working anymore.”
He turned and said, ok Professor, what’s next? I said, “Dad the doctors said there isn’t any other treatment left to try.”
He smiles, shrugged his shoulders and nodded yes as if to say that is ok. I felt his strong faith in God and a sense of peace.
He died that night, April 14, 2014.
I miss you every day Dad, but for some reason especially today.
John 3:16 “For so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”