Gone, But Not Forgotten

In response to the Daily Post Photo Challenge.

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He was my father.

Dear Dad,

You are a special person to a great many people. You probably did not even realize the kind of effect you have had on so many people’s lives. You have been a dear husband, father, father-in-law, uncle, brother-in-law, friend, employer, business associate, neighbor, to name a few. We know of countless friends and admirers from each of these connections that formed the web of your life whom have shared the profound impact you have had on them. You have been a bright beacon that stands for virtuous living, standing strong for what is really important in life… family, integrity and the recognition that it is God’s will to do good with the talents He has given us.

Dad, many of us gathered here in your memory could provide testimony regarding how special you were in their lives.  They each could describe how your unique blend of honesty, responsibility, and your genuine interest, compassion, fairness, and down-to-earth sense of humor made a difference in their lives. All of us will feel your loss in countless ways.

All of us gathered here today are coping with a very complicated set of feelings that marry the joy and pride of having known you with the pain that comes with the reality that you are gone for a short while. For those of us here this morning that are strong in faith, we have no doubt that this loss is only temporary. We know where you are right now. You are in God’s Heavenly Kingdom celebrating your wonderful life along with our ancestors who have watched you over the years with great pride and happiness. You are in a place where peace, love and joy far surpass the best our world has to offer, and you deserve every last bit of it!

Dad, even though there are so many of your fans here this morning, this tribute is about how special you are to us, your children, family and friends. By sharing a few details about how you helped to shape us, we will likely strike chords with all present today on how you helped influence them as well.

Dad, you taught me about fun!  I remember when I was about 10 years old we went to Briggs Stadium (before it became Tiger Stadium or whatever the new stadium is called today and watched the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers play.  I sat in the center field bleachers with you and other family members and watched the Yankees and Tigers play. I had my baseball glove with me and was just waiting for Mickey Mantle, Roger Marris, Al Kaline, or Ray Boone (my favorite, 3rd base, number 8) to hit a home run that I could catch.  No such luck, although Mickey Mantle did hit one off the right field roof in batting practice.

Dad, you taught me about gambling!  What I learned was not to do it!  But you loved all types of gambling be it cards, horse racing, or tossing quarters against the wall.

I know God has other plans for my father. But I am selfish, and would do anything to have him back. The hardest thing to say and the hardest thing to accept is he is gone. Forever from our lives.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is in the first chapter of Mark:

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son, with thee I am well pleased.”

 He was my father…. with him I am well pleased.