Today would have been my father's birthday. The above photo is one of my favorites. It's taken in Northern Michigan where my father vacationed with us for many years. He was always so happy up there.
What do I most appreciate about my father?
My father was calm and steady, very reliable except in the area of punctuality, although he could be on time if the situation required it. He was very devoted to his family, always there for us. Both he and my mother never missed an event that was important to us kids. We knew he loved us. And we knew he loved our mother. She was in a nursing home with Alzheimer's for over ten years and my father visited her every day. When she could no longer feed herself which was pretty early on, he would feed her one meal, every day. For ten years. Yeah. That's commitment.
He loved his grandkids and he showed it. I think there was nothing he enjoyed more than listening to John play the piano. He could listen for hours. When we were up north and a local church gave John permission to play their grand piano during the day, my dad would go with John just to listen. The year he died it was very difficult for him to get up the 7 or 8 steps into the church. And, because of construction, there was no bathroom available. He went anyway and sat for several hours in the wooden pew just to hear John play. The Steinway sitting in our living room now is there in my dad's honor.
He went to nearly every one of John's competitions. John's usual fan club sitting there would be me, his teacher, and my dad. Afterwards, he had nothing but compliments for John. And then he would take us to McDonald's so John could have a milkshake. How these little acts of kindness and love form the fabric of our fondest memories.
He was conservative and staunchly pro-life. He had been involved in and very committed to the successful initiative in Michigan in the early seventies to have abortion declared illegal in Michigan. The initiative was successful and for a short time there were no legal abortions in Michigan. Then it was all overturned by Roe v. Wade. My father was livid that a group of unelected judges could overturn the will of the people.
My father suffered from heart disease for many years. After his heart attack at 59 he decided to eat a diet that included almost no fat. Now that I'm trying to eat a similar diet, I can appreciate what great self-discipline that required. He stuck to it. He was the model patient, walking every day and following his doctor's instructions to the letter. He lived another 2 decades after that heart attack, and didn't even die of heart disease. He was mentally and emotionally strong.
May my father rest in peace. May he be before the throne of Jesus even now. And may he know that we all really love him and miss him a lot.