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Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Dad.....

This was my dad from August 27, 2010....his birthday.  He, my mom, my sister and her family were on their way to Georgia to visit.  That trip would be the last time I would see my dad. 

This year, I called my dad on his birthday.  Since my mom was out of town, he and I actually talked for about 20 minutes.  Normally, if mom is around, he and I would exchange pleasantries and then he would say, "Well, here's your mother."  But, this time, he and I talked.  I went out on our screened porch so I could have a peaceful talk with him.  We talked about some dreams I had been having, him feeling like he was fighting some sort of bug, the sermon he was going to preach the next day, mom being away on a girls trip with my cousins and lots of other seemingly insignificant stuff.

Throughout Dad's birthday weekend, my siblings and nieces popped in to see my dad.  My brother stopped over on Saturday and found out that Dad was preaching the next day.  My brother decided to skip his own church service that Sunday and go listen to my dad.  At the last minute, he decided to grab his video camera to tape it.

My dad died sometime Sunday afternoon, August 28, home.

We are all still in shock.  I knew that this day would someday come, but, I thought when that day came, I would have some warning, so I could flip the switch in my brain to know that he wouldn't be around for much longer.  My switch hadn't flipped yet.  I was expecting to see him when we went up in October for an early family Christmas and again this coming winter when we went to see them in Arizona.

We are heart broken.

We know he is in heaven.

As horrible as this is, there have been blessings from God sprinkled throughout this whole thing:

* We had ALL talked to him on his birthday, the day before (The last thing I said to my dad was, "I love you, Dad."  His last words to me were, "Same here.")
* My brother deciding to go and listen to my dad's sermon.....and video taping it
* That my Dad went quickly and peacefully (blessing for him...not so much for us)
* That my sisters and I were able to sing at the funeral (something he had wanted for years and we had adamantly told him we were NOT going to do....but we did and we sang the songs he had wanted us to sing.)
* That my brother was able to share the gospel/salvation message at Dad's funeral

There are many more, but, I just feel like God knows how heart broken we are and is doing what he can to ease that burden for us.

We drove the 18 or so hours to and from Minnesota twice this past week.  That is a hard drive anytime, but knowing what was in store for us....made it harder. 

At some point during the week, A-man told me that I just needed to stop talking about Grandpa Doug, because it just made me cry whenever I talked about him.

I tried to explain that Grandpa Doug was my Dad.....then I said he was my Daddy....thinking that might make more sense to a 6 year old. 

That reminded me of my last Facebook interaction with Dad.  I had gotten up on his birthday and sent a quick message saying, "Happy Birthday, Daddy!".....then I realized that I was actually on D-man's I quickly explained to Dad that I didn't realize D-man was still be logged on....and that the birthday wishes were from me and not D-man.  My Dad, replied that he figured that had been the case. 

D-man asked why I had called my Dad..."Daddy", which I don't ever do.  I told him, that down here in the South, many grown women seem to still refer to their fathers as "Daddy"  I was kind of trying it on for didn't fit.  So, I went over to my own page and said, "Happy Birthday, to you soon."

But now that "Daddy" is gone, I wonder if that wasn't a little blessing from God too.....referring to him one last time as my Daddy.

The Daddy who even though he had a long day at work and just wanted to lay on the couch and read his newspaper - would still play games with me.

The Daddy who would give me whisker rubs after his hunting trips to northern Minnesota.

The Daddy who would who would come rub his smooth, Old Spice, smelling face on me after shaving.

The Daddy who told me that I would grow up to be pretty, after one of my crying spells during puberty.

The Daddy who was married to my Mom for 51 years....

...and would go find her as soon as he got home from work so he could give her a hug (and then swat her behind) - before he would go lay on the couch to be bothered by me.

The Daddy who taught me how much God loves me.

The Daddy who taught me to love the Lord.

I saw Dad in August of 2010....but, somehow, I did not get any pictures of him....except this one...

This is the only picture I have of us from the last time I saw my Dad. We went to the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta...

Dad and Mom came to visit us here in Georgia shortly after we moved....they helped me hang pictures and curtains and make the house a home....these are some of the last pictures I have with Dad and my kids....

I will let you in on a little secret....D-man's real name is Doug....named after my Dad.

We worked them so hard that we had to have a soak in the hot tub...

I miss you, Dad!