How do you put into words how much a person means to you; how much they have touched your heart and life? Words don’t seem adequate enough when this special someone leaves a hole in your heart that only they could fill.
My dad, my father-in-law, took me into his heart and family when his son married me 24 years ago. I wish I knew then what I know now – this honorable, generous, loving, funny, sarcastic, stubborn, mostly right, practical joker would be my dad in more than name. He brightened our times together with his quiet, dry humor, which challenged my too-serious perspective. The joy and laughter that I so love in his son started with him, and continues today through his grandchildren, my children, which I get to enjoy every day.
His legacy of joy, jokes, generosity, stoicism, compassion, tenacity, responsibility, support, faith in God, and much more are seen in how his son takes wonderful, loving care of us, his daughter’s compassion and generosity, his grandchildren’s love for people and humorous outlook on life, and his wife’s love, faithfulness and support over their 54 plus years together.
Even through all the years he dealt with prostate cancer, which in the end took his body from us, he stood strong in his faith that God was taking care of everything, no matter which way life took him. He frequently said, “Don’t worry about it”, about everything from the dog tearing into the house soaking from his dip in the pond/lake to the cancer eating away his time left with us here on Earth. His quiet strength and intuitiveness gave us all the confidence that whatever came his, and our, way, everything would be fine, an answer/solution would show itself. I always knew that we could count on him through thick and thin – we all knew that.
For me, in my mind and heart, he was a safe haven. I never felt judged, lacking, unsafe, or insecure in my position in his heart.
One of the ways he changed my life was through his dry humor and practical joking. At first, when I heard about his victims, er, targets, I was intimidated and a bit scared that I would be next, or that I wouldn’t get it. He must have known this about me, because he very gently teased me or let me in on his jokes, until finally I wasn’t that scared, too-serious new daughter. He showed me that jokes didn’t have to be demeaning or hurtful, and that the best ones were when the other person may never get it. He kept me on my toes, trying to spot his humorous intent, and I finally reached a secure point where it was okay if I didn’t “get it” right away, or if the joke was intended for me.
Christmas was especially an eye opener for me, displaying the generous, giving nature of my Dad and Mom. For me growing up, Christmas was a very quiet, small affair that wasn’t accompanied by hardly any traditions or much fanfare. Wow! What a first Christmas that was a few weeks after being married! I was overwhelmed and felt a bit inadequate, but mostly exhilarated to be a part of this generous outpouring of love. I learned that we are given much so that we can in turn give much. The amount isn’t the point, only the heart’s intent being shown in a tangible way. Christmas has always been sacrosanct – even before getting married, I found out very quickly that this particular holiday was going to be spent the Myers’s way, that everyone else would have to make different arrangements. Well, that was fine by me! At each celebration over the years, Dad would find the goofiest, silliest, or wackiest toy, or mind puzzle to tease us with. What fun we’ve had with fake, nasty looking teeth, nose harps, kazoos, and wooden puzzle boxes!
Dad’s generosity blessed us so richly over the years! From the help provided at Chris’s and my wedding to the cars passed on and the dinner tabs picked up, and so much more, Dad inspired us to give, and give generously. As I like to tell my new son-in-law, we’re paying it forward, so let us pay for some things! One day it’ll be your turn. 🙂 His giving heart was turned on those around him, whether folks who barely knew him at church, or strangers who needed help, or friends of friends, he wanted to share the love of God with everyone.
His strong and steadfast faith in God was the bedrock of his life. He studied the Bible diligently and passed on his gleanings with love and compassion to those in his life. Through demonstration he taught steadfastness, love, courage, joy, the fruits of the Spirit, to everyone around him, most especially his family. He knew that the best teachings in life are actions, not just words. In fact, a lot of times no words were spoken or needed. His actions spoke of God in him.
Well, now Dad has joined the next best adventure that God gave us – eternity with him, and all, in love. He is greatly missed here. However, we know he’s not tied down to a sick, earthly body anymore. Everything is now clear to him – he now has that full understanding that we can only dream of here on this physical plane. I’m a bit jealous! But only a bit, because we’re here to experience God’s love through our humanness and I still have a lot of humanness to live.
I did ask him the day before he moved on to come visit me, in my dreams or however he wants to, and tell me what it’s like there. He chuckled and said okay. Almost every night since then he has been present in my dreams and occasionally in my half waking moments I feel him. In fact, yesterday morning as I turned over I smelled his cologne. I think he’s waiting for me to be on the same wavelength as him to share with me whatever he thinks I can handle.
I am eternally grateful that I was put into this wonderful man’s family! There is no one else like him and he will live on in our hearts and minds. I hope Chris and I can pass on the type of legacy that he did to us.
Going through this, and this is a first for me, has caused me to be more aware of what is most important in this life – family and loving everyone you come in contact with. Everything else is inconsequential and in the end isn’t what you’re remembered by. Dad set an excellent example of being love, one I hope I’ve learned from and not only live, but pass to my kids and grandkids.
Go hug and love on your loved ones! And don’t forget others around you – love is so easy to pass around with a smile, a helping hand, a conversation, and even loving thoughts.
We love you Dad, and look forward to being reunited with you.