With the little time I’ve had in this crazy week that is now behind me, I wrote a little something to say at my Dad’s Celebration of Life. Everyone seemed to like it a lot, although I’m sure I could’ve kept revising and perfecting it for weeks. It would’ve been hard to find a stopping point if I wasn’t forced because it’s almost impossible to find good enough words for my Dad. I do think that my love and admiration for him came across clearly.
For those of you who may not know, I am my father’s daughter. As a young girl, I could be found hanging out with the adults instead of the kids, because of course, that’s where my Dad was. Throughout my life you could’ve also found me running to my Dad to share my latest achievement or what I learned in school that day, to tattle on my Mom or brother, or to check out the latest and greatest project of his. However, there is one title and place I was best known for: as Daddy’s girl, sitting proudly on his lap.
They say that every little girl dreams of her wedding day from the moment she discovers boys. My dreams may have been different than most others, because when you have a Dad like mine it’s hard to imagine a man for yourself that will live up to his standards and your own. Instead, I was imagining what it would be like when my Dad tearfully walked me down the aisle, what song we would dance to during the father-daughter dance, and how to explain to my groom that I don’t want to change my last name. For that’s what a true Daddy’s girl’s dreams are like.
There’s no other love like that between a father and a daughter. I am eternally thankful that I experienced such love for it is a gift that I will carry around with me the rest of my life. It will continue to inspire me, protect me, comfort me, and shape me into the person I am created to be. There is nothing more that a Dad wants for his daughter than to be happy and loved, and I’m confident that is what my Dad forever wants for me. And I can tell you firsthand that a girl looks at her Dad with respect and a type of fear similar to such for her Heavenly Father. In everything she does, she just wants to make him proud. That wasn’t too difficult because my Dad was proud the second I entered the world as his firstborn child. We have always been confident in our heart-to-heart connection, so very few words were necessary. The look in our eyes, the dimple in my smile, and the squeeze of the hug told it all. I hope that someday, in the distant future, I will have a little girl who can experience a Daddy’s love like I have blessed with.
If I could someday be as half as brilliant as my Dad, I would be doing well. At 21 years old, I can tell you that I will never meet anyone smarter or more innovative than him. We always laughed at my lack of mechanical smarts that left me staring at something so simple, yet I still couldn’t figure it out. It puzzled us both that I could make 100% on a biology test instead. Although I have to admit one flaw that we both shared, a non-existent sense of direction.
I always thought he should be a doctor or a teacher, perhaps because we are so alike and that’s what I’ve seen for myself. In actuality he was a teacher because he continually shared his knowledge with others, including me. Whether I caught on to it or not was a different story, but I did remember certain things like don’t tell mom how much money we spent at the firework stand and how to jump wakes on a wave runner at the Lake. Unfortunately he was also a doctor – his own, at times in the last two years. Honestly, I think he could’ve been anything he set out to be, but I know he chose his passion—which of course was helping others.
One undeniable characteristic of my Dad is his sense of humor. He always knew the right place, the right time, and the right joke to say. Sometimes I tried to hold back my laugh but he knew I couldn’t. I can still picture the look on his face when I couldn’t help but crack a smile.
My Dad was welcomed into Heaven the day before my 21st birthday. At first thought, it sounds like horrible timing, but I look at it in a totally different light. He won’t allow us to dread that time of year because it would spoil my birthday. He never wanted his little girl to be upset, especially on my birthday, and this doesn’t change that. Instead, he will always want us to celebrate his ultimate Healing and life and then celebrate mine the day after. I see it as a lifelong connection we will share.
This verse from Revelation 21:4 is a glimpse of God taking care of my Dad in Heaven: He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. My Dad received a Healing so great that it cannot even be compared to what we prayed, hoped, and begged for here on Earth.
We all wanted him to stay here longer than his 50 short years on Earth, but God had other plans that we can’t understand now. Maybe my Dad is right in saying that it was time for Jesus to retire from carpentry and needed him to take over his job as carpenter in Heaven.
On the day of his passing, someone told me these beautiful words that I would like to share with you… “May the happy memories of your Dad bring comfort to the ache in your heart. And may you take comfort in knowing that tonight, your two Dad’s will rejoice having finally met face to face and they will share in their fierce love for you.”
Throughout the rest of my life here on Earth, I will picture my Heavenly Father and my Earthly Father embraced together, smiling down upon me. They both have a piece of me that will be filled when we are reunited again. Won’t that be a glorious day?
Until then, I will keep on living, for that’s what my Dad wants his loved ones to do. He wouldn’t want us to sink into a depression, cut our dreams short, or anything we wouldn’t do with him here.
He will be missed and forever loved.