Friday, January 21, 2011
My Father passed away on Friday, January 14, 2011.
This was sudden and came as quite a shock...he came down with a cold that developed into pneumonia...he fought for 6 days in the hospital, and sadly wasn't able to make it through.
I wasn't able to be there with him, which was extremely heart wrenching for me...He called out for me several times and as he called for me I am told he repeated..."Tina, Tina Baby, please pray for Daddy...I need you Tina to pray for Daddy..."
Before I even knew of this I was already on my knees before my merciful loving God doing just that...praying for my Daddy.
I trust in the Lord with all of my heart and even though His will may not always be mine...He is still worthy of my praise for He is good in all circumstances...
Below is the reading that will be read during my Father's Memorial Service. I wanted to share it with you because I wanted everyone to get to know my Daddy as I know him...
*Note...Jason is my brother, Hillary my sister, & Bryan my brother*
My Father...My Friend
When I think of my Dad I am completely consumed and flooded with memories of LOVE...He was the most loving, caring, compassionate man I have ever known. He was such a wonderful Daddy...and those memories will forever be in my heart. At a time when a lot of men not only walked away from but ran to escape their responsibilities of being a father...my Dad not only fully embraced this role...he fought for it. I remember most of my friends also came from single parent homes, but they didn't even really know their Fathers. As far back as I can remember my Daddy & us kids were inseparable...he was our hero, our playmate, our protector, our companion, our comforter, our best friend! We respected him and cherished him. He was our firm foundation and the center of our lives.
I remember every night he'd read to us from the Bible, and we'd talk about what he just read and what God wanted us to learn from His word. He'd pray with us, tuck us in, and kiss us goodnight...then of course we'd need a drink of water, had to go to the bathroom, needed to be tucked in again, and kissed again...and then sometime before morning we'd end up in his bed...I always felt so safe with him....I mean he was after all Super Man...I'm pretty sure he could fly, but only when we weren't looking, he didn't want his secret to get out....plus, he is a pretty big guy and it probably took him a bit to get off of the ground.
As teenagers we were pretty rambunctious to say the least...but he still remained incredibly patient and determined to love us...sometimes firmly, but always in love...speaking for only myself here...I'm shocked I or even he survived those years! I'm for sure that he referred to me as "CHRISTINA ANN!" much more than "Tina" at that time. I also believe this was around the same time his hair started to turn gray and fall out. During those years most of my friends hated their parents...they grew apart from them and alienated themselves from them. Oh now I do remember saying...or well more like yelling on more than one occasion, "I hate you, leave me alone!" And his response most of the time was," Oh no you don't, you love me...and I love you!" Wow, I sure gave him quite the hard time and yet through all of it...he remained my closest friend and confidant. I could always talk to him about anything and everything...he was the greatest listener, counselor, comforter, cheerleader, and encourager. Plus, if I ever had a problem with someone who may have hurt me...he was quite the raging bull...er...um, I mean defender and protector!
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child (Victoria)...I was so excited! Then I became extremely scared! I didn't even know how to be a mom...how was I going to pull this off?! But, you know my Daddy's example paved the way for my mothering...sounds kinda weird, I know. But, it was how he parented us...how he loved us, how he nurtured us, how he embraced parenthood with not only his whole heart but with his life! It's funny because a lot of who I am with my own children is so totally my dad! AND, when I look back at the kind of Father he was...I also, see my husband...now that can be really weird sometimes! But, to see my Husband doing the very same things with our children that my Daddy did with me is the most touching thing ever! What's even funnier is as I get older I have realized that a lot of who I am in life is my dad! I'm afraid he passed on his weird sense of humor...although, I do pray mine is a ton more tuned down and less vulgar in comparison. I've definitely inherited his stubbornness and gift for sarcasm. I also share his taste of goofy music...I definitely have a true love for The Beach Boys...Yep, I'm probably a weirdo...and I probably embarrass my kids just as much as he embarrassed me. Although, I secretly was extremely proud of his loud singing to weird music...and I always joined in when my friends weren't around! He totally should have released an album...I was his hugest fan, I'm sure! And, I hold closely the memory of dancing with Daddy on my sweet 16th surprise birthday party to "Have I told you lately that I love you?" by Rod Stewart.
Well, I am now at a moment in my life that I thought would not have come this soon...My Daddy is gone...and not really at the most convenient time, I might add. I couldn't be there to say goodbye, to hug him, to hold his hand, to stroke his brow, to rub his hair, to kiss him...I can't be there now to express all of these feelings myself...I can't be there for my family and friends. But, I trust in the Lord...this was not a coincidence or an accident or just mere chance...God planned this from the beginning...my Daddy's appointment to meet with Jesus was already planned even before his birth. This was no shocker to God. I promise you that He wasn't sitting there saying to the angels, "Oh great! I forgot that I gave Tina a baby at the same time I'm calling her Daddy to come home! Shoot, what did I do?! Oops...my bad!" No, this was His will...and because I trust Him, I know He has a plan in all of this. And besides, when is it ever a "convenient" time to lose a parent? It's not like I would have ever said, "Ok God, Ok Dad...it's a good time now for you to go ahead and do what you got to do." No way, it's never "convenient"...but, again...I know and trust that this was His purpose for this to happen exactly this way.
Why? Maybe it was to bring you all closer together. If I would have been there I would have wanted to take charge...God had another plan...Jason has been absolutely amazing and wonderful! What a man he has become in just this short time. Hillary and Bryan have matured greatly as well during this time and have become closer through this. You three have grown so much in this time and I praise God for it. I am so proud of all of you! I also needed to learn something here...to let go and fully trust in God to take care of things. I can't do everything, I can't take care of everyone...He wants me to grow in my faith in Him. Family and friends have come together for one purpose and have united together in love! I am so proud and so grateful for all of those who have been there and been involved. Some of you I don't even know...but I love you so much! I have no words to really even come close to expressing my true and sincere heartfelt gratitude for all of you! My heart is extremely overwhelmed with encouragement and thankfulness. I thank you all so much for keeping me involved as much as possible...thank you for allowing me to be there, if only in heart.
I feel God has allowed this time to also be a reminder for all of us to treasure and hold closely in our hearts. Life is so precious and so fragile...at any moment it could be gone...we never really know when our last breath will truly be our last. When God calls us to our home in eternity that's it....everything here is left behind...this life is just a split second in comparison to all of eternity. We need to cherish each other right now while we have one another. We need to stop wasting time and energy by focusing on each others faults and failures but instead focus on forgiveness and loving one another.
I couldn't be there with my Daddy...I can't be there with you all now...my heart is just so broken with sadness over this. I want to comfort you and hold you. But, I have this amazing comfort, joy and hope in my heart as well. I pray that you all will be able to have this kind of comfort also. My comfort is in the Lord...my joy is in the Lord...my hope is in the Lord. Right now He is calling for us to trust in Him and Him alone. He wants to be our comforter and our strength...He wants us to fall on Him and cry out to Him. He wants us to draw closer to Him in our times of pain and sorrow.
Here's a great quote that I have been saying to myself a lot lately..."I have a hope, I have a rock, and I cling to my Jesus!"
Jesus is my rock...Allow Him to be your rock as well...I pray that you can lean on Him right now and always. We can't understand everything God plans and wills...but, all of whom He is and all of what He does is for a good and perfect purpose even when it hurts, doesn't make any sense, or even seem fair. Trust in Him and fall on Him...allow Him to not just strengthen you...but actually be your strength.
(“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30)
We all leave behind a legacy of whom we are and what kind of person we were. Daddy left an amazing legacy...he was so kindhearted and generous. His heart was filled with so much love for everyone...even ugly stray animals (just look at his pet rat posing as a dog, Tinkerbell!) He would not just give you the shirt off his back but his pants and shoes too, and then not even think about how he's totally standing there naked now! His love and compassion for others in need was and is still so overwhelming to my heart! His mark left on this world and in the hearts of those he has touched is great! I know this is why so many people have come together...people that may not have even spoken to each other in years...but, there's so much unity and love and it's for one purpose...to celebrate and remember the man my Daddy was!
I love you all so very much and I sincerely thank all of you with my whole heart...
I love you so much Daddy!!! My hero...my rock...my best friend!!! I will miss you with all that is in me...but I rejoice in the Lord, and pray for the day that I am called home as well...for there are no goodbyes in Christ!