I got to see him one last time on a long weekend trip to TN. We prayed, laughed and cried together. Just a little at a time because he was so weak. And even though we didn't say anything to each other that hadn't already been said, it was precious to hear those words of love again. Because he was my daddy and I was a daddy's girl.
I worked beside him from the time I could walk. He would put me to work with a 2x10 board and a hacksaw and say "Cut this for dad". I would work for days!! The best thing my dad ever did for me was not to treat me like a girl. I am the oldest of three children and I was just his child. I could do anything that he did including castrating bulls and backing up a trailer with an off-set hitch. Some things I could do better, like round bale and run the headgate on the cattle chute.
The reason I love the farm is because of my dad. He is in everything we do. Even at the end, he wanted to know what was happening on the farm. I miss him so, but I don't wish him back. There is only so much pain and suffering that you can watch before your prayer becomes "God, you can take him now. Please." My dad was a Christian and was welcomed home by Jesus and all the saints that have gone before. He is with his parents, his beloved aunt and uncle, his dear friend Arnie, and my friend Eleanor. And those are just the people I knew. He's with Moses and Peter and Paul. I can hardly imagine what that moment is like...but, man, what a moment!!
We buried my dad on Wednesday, September 7th. Three years to the day from when we baptized my oldest daughter. I don't grieve so much for me. I had the best part of my dad. But I grieve for my children. They will never go fishing with Papa. They will never learn to build things with wood in his shop. They will never get to ride in the 4430 with him. They will never get a whisker rub. They will never know, first hand, the love he had for them. Oh how that grieves me! His memory will live on in the beautiful wood pieces he created, the quilt pieces he cut out for me, the things he taught us. I cross-stitched him a picture that he hung in his office for more than 20 years. It says "The greatest gift I ever had came from God and I call him Dad"
The last picture I have of Dad. He's with Kiddo3, she was 5 months old.