I post this every year on his birthday. I am having a blue day, but reading this helps me remember how lucky I was to be his daughter. I love and miss you daddy.
Today, my dad would have been 73. He was a wonderful father. He was like the biggest, softest, security blanket you could ever cuddle up with. He was the first person who really made me feel “good” about myself. When I needed a little encouragement, he was always there to lift me up. When I fell short of his expectations, he always had faith that I would find my way home. He never gave up on me, and for that I am very grateful.
He was a fan of all sports. His first true love was coaching. He is still famous in the small town where I grew up. There, in 1966, he brought a team of underdogs to victory in the state basketball championship…. a record he still holds to this day. He fought against racism and segregation in our small town. He believed that all of us are created equal and that we should all have the same opportunities, whether it be on the basketball court or in life’s endeavors.
After his coaching years, he took over the family lumber business. Here he would find his second love…construction. Today you can find bits of his work, both great and small, scattered all over Northeastern Oklahoma. He was also a humanitarian. With this experience in construction and renovation, he often volunteered his time. In May of 1999, Oklahoma City suffered horrible damage due to a tornado. My dad donated his time and skills to help victims of this storm rebuild both their homes and their lives. No cause was ever too great or too small.
He was also very creative. He was a wonderful painter, sculptor, stained glass designer, and photographer. He won many awards in each of these fields. He loved to stroke a canvas…creating beautiful works of art. One of Humpty Dumpty hangs over my son’s baby bed and another of a beautiful magnolia blossom dresses the walls of my bedroom. What treasures these are to me.
When signs and symptoms of brain cancer were beginning, he was just embarking on the wonderful phase of life called “retirement”. He was so happy. He was always happy though…. But now he was really happy. My mom and dad were never more in love. They were traveling and finally shopping for that perfect RV. My twin sister had a 2 yr-old son and my first son, who bears his name, was just learning to crawl. Two grandsons…he was thrilled beyond words!!
My dad’s fight with brain cancer was short, only 7 months. However, it was the hardest…darkest time of my life. There I was, married to the man I had waited my entire life to find, I had a wonderful new baby boy, I was attempting to be an effective and inspiring teacher to 8th grade students, and all the while, watching my father drift away. It was almost unbearable at times. I wanted to, and sometimes did, scream at the top of my lungs.
On the day of his death, we were all encircled around him. Until his final breath, he was still my wonderful, handsome father. On this same day, my husband and I learned that we were going to have another baby. You know the old saying, when one door closes, God opens a window. I believe this to be true. And I know that my precious father is watching over us all…watching his grandsons and granddaughter grow, and expecting me to go on and be a good mother, sister, wife, friend,…person.
Now, almost 4 ½ years later, I still find life, without my father, to be somewhat unrecognizable. The colors of my life are all different now. Some days are vivid and some are gray, but with each sunrise and sunset comes the comfort of knowing that one day I will find shelter in my fathers arms once again. For that I am especially grateful.