Today I am remembering my father. Daddy was only 67 years old when he died. When I think about the passage of time related to his death, I compare it to my youngest son who recently celebrated his 21st birthday. He was only six months old when his grandfather died. So Daddy has been gone almost 21 years and would be 88 years old today – doesn’t seem possible.
I remember that I looked at obituaries frequently the first few years after his death wondering who was awarded a few more years than my dad and wondering why – trying to equate fairness and justice to death. Of course, I would see many who left this life sooner than Daddy and knew that wasn’t fair either. I wanted to figure it all out; I wanted an explanation. After all, 67 was far too young to die. Why was his illness leading to death prolonged?
Trying to figure out death is an impossible task – why some depart so young and others live for decades. Why do some very good people have fewer years than some who are very mean and nasty? I can’t figure this all out, so I will simply remember …
I remember that picture of you, Daddy, on the beach during World War II – so fit and trim in swimming trunks and military cap. I remember as a younger man with a family of daughters how tanned and young looking you were from working outside. I thought you were very handsome. I remember people telling me how much I looked like you (and I don’t believe it was just the brown eyes). I remember that you made us laugh by talking like Donald Duck. (How did you do that?) I remember that you commanded respect. I remember that you taught by example more than by words. I remember the time you didn’t yell at me when I backed the car into the side of the garage. I remember that you were a good provider for your family – that we never missed a meal or lacked a bed to sleep in. I remember that you loved to fish. I remember sharing a love of sports. I remember that you kept all the vehicles running well. I remember the HUGE tomatoes that you grew in your garden after you retired. I remember that you were a man of your word.
You were a good father, Daddy. I only wish that my sons could remember.
Yes, some days I still look at the obituaries and ask the same questions. I still cannot figure it out, but I do have peace – peace in knowing as I stated in Reflections, Chapter 7: “Understanding is yet for another place and time …”
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” I Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)