Mary Campbell Cave, Gorge Metropolitan Park,
Cuyahoga Falls, OH
One of my dad's paintings that I like to look at in the fall.
I don't have the emotional energy or the time to write all that is in my heart today, the 87th anniversary of the birth of an amazing man, my dad. While his spirit is safe with God, his body rests over at Oakwood Cemetery, awaiting that promised and inevitable glorious day of resurrection. His temporary loss in my life has left a vacancy that no one else can fill and I miss him every single day. It's been 2 1/2 years and while the pain of loss is always there, it has become "softer" with time as memories become sweeter.
One of the last pictures of me with my dad...
My dad made me feel loved and special from day one, yet he had room in his heart and an amazing capacity to make all six of the other kids feel the same way.
Dad didn't always have an easy life, but he lived a good life. All 84 years. Devoted son, faithful husband, proud father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, beloved sibling, trusted friend, lover of God. He was respected by everyone who knew him. How many people can leave this earth with that legacy?
The only known picture of my dad's entire family of origin...
he is on the far left, and the year was 1934.
Some of the things my dad liked that still make us chuckle: the color red, black wrought iron, stamps, keys, coins, thrift shopping, repurposing curb finds; gingersnaps and black licorice, dippy eggs, spaghetti, painting, books, history, and anything "family"; covered bridges, lighthouses, barns, flea markets, crossword puzzles and the daily newspaper; passing out napkins at the table, wearing dress shirts, cuff-links and ties; sight-seeing, telling jokes, decorating the house for Christmas, playing (and always winning) Trivial Pursuit, making banners, and signing his name on everything.
Some of the things he disliked: surprise parties, unexpected spicey food, lights left on when no one was home, telemarketers, wasted food, canning, feeling like he was cheated, lied to, unappreciated or misunderstood.
Dad always liked this photo of himself, and so do I.
One of the myriad of things I miss about my dad is being able to ask him just about any question and getting an instant answer. He was truly a walking encyclopedia. A few months after he died, I actually picked up the phone and started to call him to ask him some trivial thing, like I had done many times it the past.
Dad was blind in one eye from a childhood baseball injury that never got treated, and he often spilled things at the table. He also had poor hearing, which unfortunately runs in our family. For many years he was in denial about that, and it caused him to be defensive at times. Throughout our growing up years, he worked as many hours as he could get to support his large family, and there were times we wondered if he would make it home in time to get to our events. All of that, however, is forgiven, as love covers all. Love endures forever, and love is what is left when everything else passes away.
I'm seen in the reflection, taking this picture of his headstone right after it was installed.
My heart is full of love as I recall the life of the man who has been in mine longer than any other. He was there when I was born and I was there when he died. I know that I can look forward with confidence and back without regrets. I am so very blessed.