Saturday, September 29, 2012

Yesterday my dad was 75 today we come together to surprise him.

How does one look back on a long life?  How do the ones that love him do it?  I saw a lady in the store yesterday that I have never really known well, but have know a long time.  I on one occasion was at her home, years ago, and I have not been an EMT in 9 years, to help take her husband to the hospital.  He at the time was just become truly ill and had just started down the path to become long term bed ridden.  I saw her in the store and took a moment to tell her I was sorry for her loss she has just lost him.  I told her I was sorry and asked her if in the end it was a blessing and asked if she was okay.  She said it was truly a blessing that he had passed on to the Lord, She was fine and maybe she is but she is tired and now will have a chance to heal and become physically strong again.  She looked so frail and worn down.  She loved her husband with all her heart and took care of him to the end.  It helped that she had been a nurse but it could not have been easy on any level.  She surely can attest to a life time of loving one man, and a life time of sharing her life with him. She will miss her love, and I am sure in moments miss the time she cared for him in his illness.  My grandfather did this for my grandmother.   I think that a life long love ends in this way quite often.  Oh, not all the time there are those events where the truly aged live a life of almost no health issues then go in a quick manner in the end.  One of my childhood memories is my father telling us of a couple he and my mom meant in northern Idaho.  They had just gone to a new Church with my grandparents.  They had become quite fond of an older couple in their late 70's there, they asked them to dinner on one Sunday shortly after they meant them.  The couple politely declined.  The older gentlemen said "oh, we couldn't we always go to see the folks."  My parents and grands thought they meant they went to the cemetery to visit them but no, they actually went to dinner with their folks on every Sunday.  They at the time were the oldest married couple in the US.  Paul Harvey learned about them later and used them as an example of a long loving marriage.  He said he would start to look for a couple that had a longer marriage and when he found it he would stop.  It took him 50 years to find a couple that broke their record.  They were both well into their 100's and I am sure lived a long and happy life and marriage. My dad used them as an example at ever marriage I ever heard him officiate.

I think of my father today, he is not that old in the realm of truly old people but for our family he is quite old.  His grandfather and his father both died at 67 from heart attacks form heart defects that are genetic in our family and before modern heart surgery was unsurpassable.  He actually had had two heart attacks before he turned 67, the second lead to his triple bypass surgery 7 years ago.  He has aunts that are into their one hundreds but the men, his father being one of them didn't live that long.  His brother has had a quadruple bypass.  He has been many things in his life, a child that lived through the depression.  A young adult that made his living horse logging, then stepping into his fathers job while his father spent six months in Warm springs hospital for tuberculosis.  He worked the job of a man as an 18 year old, took the check home and gave it to his mother so she could feed her kids.  He got another job after his father came home and only missed 11 days of work the rest of his working years, those 11 days were the days he spent in the hospital and recuperating after his first heart attack.  He was a trapper, and then a coon hunter but in 1972 his dogs could no longer feed themselves with the harvest of the hides, due to changing laws, so he had to give that up.  He was a wanderer and took his family from town to town to keep a job and feed them.  He never took a dime from the government in the form of foodstamps or welfare.  He paid his taxes and lived from pay check to pay check. He raised, well is in the process of raising the last three, twelve children.  He has loved God all his life, he has loved my mom through thick and thin and I think there has been alot of thin in his life.  He had dreams, I am sure, but he never sought them out, he had kids to raise and dreams come second to raising kids.  He has been raising kids for 52 year in a couple of weeks, well maybe an additional 5 being as he did help his mom with his siblings. 

Today we come together to honor his life, the life he has given to us kids without complaint and without meanness, he is a fine man.  He is becoming a lost man in many ways and his mind wanders and sometimes you have to tell him over and over what you want him to hear, and in many ways he never grasps the concept you are talking about if it is new.  He never did anything magnificent in his life or wondrous but he loved his kids, his wife and his Lord.  He will get a reward in heaven to match the love he gave in this life when his life ends.  I am my father's daughter, I can be opinionated, love history, have a steadfast political view, love my kids, and the ones that come my way that I can share my love with, love my husband with instincts of a mother bear protecting her young, and I love the Lord my God.  That is a testimony to the things my father gave me and the love he has had for me my whole life.  Today we will sing happy birthday to the man who made us who we are, as his children, and the Lord will smile down on our gathering.... tomorrow.    

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