Tuesday, April 12, 2016

All The Words

Monday morning I woke up planning to ask Dad if he wanted to drive to the cabin for an hour or two that evening.  Later we were all suddenly called to the hospital.  We knew it was the end and we gathered together to wait.  We talked, we laughed, we cried, we hugged, we teased, we waited.

That evening, surrounded by his wife and children, he slipped away after 93 full years of life.  We marked his passing with a coca-cola toast.

We are very grateful to the nurses, doctors and staff at Logan Regional Hospital for taking care of Dad and for taking care of us as well.  We could not have hoped for better.
Yesterday the family gathered again to plan, to write, and to organize everything that needs to be done in the next few days and weeks.  The obituary will run today in the Salt Lake Tribune and in the Herald Journal of Logan.

What it doesn't say is that he was a teacher.

He taught me that it's OK if you're not the best at something, as long as you try your best.  He taught me how to ride a bike.  He taught me how to be brave when I was scared.  He taught me about carpentry.  He taught me how to laugh at corny dad jokes.  He taught me how to be responsible.

He taught me to love music of all kinds, Friday night was classical music, Saturday was opera, Sunday night was Jazz.  He taught me how to swim.  He taught me that it's OK to FAIL: First Attempt In Learning.  He taught me to love books and writing and words, and that these things have magic in them.  He taught me how to do a title search.  He taught me that family comes first, they are the ones that simultaneously lift you up and keep you grounded.

He taught me to love old cars.  He tried to teach me patience.  He taught me how to open a door with a credit card, the credit card broke, the door stayed locked.  He taught me to love travel and the growth that comes with it.  He taught me to be generous.  He taught me that you may be cool, but you'll never be a 90 year old wearing plaid pants cool.

He taught me about WW2 through stories of his own experience.  He taught me that marriage is equal parts romantic love, tolerance, compromise, humor, selflessness, endurance, service, compassion, thoughtfulness, and restraining the urge to smother your spouse in their sleep.  He taught me to cheer for the underdog, to help the helpless, and to support the small and unique businesses in our community.

He taught me to love gardening even though his thumb was more black than green.  He taught me that we can always be better than we were, but that it is ok if we're not perfect.  He taught me how to play tennis, and how a love of being active helps keep you sharp.  He taught me to love photography.

He taught me forgiveness with gentle reprimand.  He taught me the value of hard work and customer service.  He taught me that drinking from a mountain spring as often as you can fed your spirit and your thirst.  He taught me that a coke a day was the elixir of life.

He taught me that having lots of children and grandchildren is the secret to staying young in old age.  He tried to teach me how to be organized.  He tried to teach me to not care what other people think.   He taught me that you can never have too many friends. He taught me to love learning and recognize that it doesn't always come from a book, a lecture, or the scientific process.

He taught me how to cook breakfast.  He taught me to laugh at myself and find the light and humor in every situation.  He taught me so much through his words.  He taught me more through his actions.  He taught me to celebrate the good and the learn from the bad.  He taught me not to be afraid of endings because they were new beginnings in disguise.  Most of all he taught me how to love fully and without fear or demands, to love unconditionally.

He was a great teacher, I have always been a difficult student.  If there are shortcomings, they are a result of my weakness and stubbornness, not for lack of trying on his part.

In the end all the words in the world can't accurately describe who he was, how much we loved him, and how much he loved us.  So I'll wrap this up by saying.  The man, the myth, the legend...my dad.


Heather said...

I won't lie, as I read this I may have shed a tear or two in reading it... You have a gift for writing, thank you for sharing... It was inspiring to see directly how those (especially our families) impact us. Further, it is best to say that I have have been blessed by those specific traits and characteristics planted by your father...
If you want I can come on Friday, or pick a date and I can come up and we can take the green Jeep up for a hike or photo adventure in the next few months. <3 U, Suzz!!

The Suzzzz said...

Thanks Heather. The weather is supposed to be terrible on Friday, so don't come then. Come on a sunny Saturday when we can go for a hike and then take the jeep to the cabin and have the first fire of the season.

Heather said...

<3 As that time draws closer, let me know, and I will make it happen.