I've been thinking of my dad a lot lately.
He was a good Dad. He played with us, read stories, talked with us. He was very loud and he made sure we heard him. I got him laughing really hard one time because I recalled times when he would yell and his face would turn read and the veins would pop out on his forehead. He said, "Well, I got your attention and got through to you." He laughed when I told him we were just waiting for his head to explode. Ah, the words you can't tell your parents when you are a child. I learned how to explain how I felt and told my dad. I'm surprised he didn't die laughing at that point. He loved to laugh and he loved to enjoy people. I think that's where I get that from.
My Dad was very smart. He had gone to years of college and he liked to share what he knew. He never stopped learning. When he was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the early 90's he started studying everything he could on the subject. He found herbs he could take to make his life better so he could function and he could get around. He loved to share with the family everything he learned along the way. As the Internet came about he started studying on there. He looked things up and was always on there trying to find out new things. I hope I can do that throughout life. I want to emulate his love of learning and enjoy always finding something new to take with me. He was an inspiration.
He taught me to fix a car and love to make things work. Being very mechanically minded he was able to see a problem and see the end result. He had kept his Toyota Tercell going to 400,00 miles, until it was smashed by a drunk driver. That hatch back was half the size it normally was after it had been hit. Though it destroyed the car, my parents were luckily alive. They were in pain for a long time, but they lived, shocking the police. He taught me to have faith and know that the Lord is always with me. That accident was only one of many that he experienced in life and shared with us.
My dad had a great love of the Lord and His teachings. He taught me that if I want something bad enough, hard work, dedication and faith in my Lord and Savior would bring about the desired results. He was founded in a firm place and a desire to share that was strong with him. I never saw him waver. I never saw him lose hope. I never saw him falter in his firm belief that the Lord is God. That our Savior died for us and that as our older Brother He is the advocate with the Father to bring us home. I had, my whole life, a strong desire to serve a mission. He backed me on that. He always backed me on my desire for serving even when some told me I should be planning my life and if I get to the proper age then I can just go if I'm not married. My dad said I should plan what I felt was right and if I got married before that was OK too. He gave me numerous blessings along the way to help me with that and always encouraged me to stay on my intended path. When I had friends who were leaving sooner than me because they were guys I wanted to leave then too. He even helped me find somewhere I could write to see if they'd make an exception and let me go early. I had a denial letter of course, but he backed me in that too. Ironically the Church has since changed the age of missionaries and the girls can now leave at 19. He would have laughed and cried with me as I heard that announcement. We would have talked about it and he would have told me it is as it should have been. He was firm in following the Prophet. I can't write about him or think about him without saying how stalwart he was in his belief.
My love for working on cars and telling things as they are and not cinch words comes from my Dad. I watched as he insulted people and didn't mean to, only didn't try and say something that wasn't true. He would love to have discussions and though he was passionate he didn't get upset if someone believed differently. He would just state why he was right, why he believed the way he did, often using data to back up his point and explain why the other person was wrong. However, he also listened and would take what they said into consideration.
He wasn't perfect. One of his favorite sayings was, "if I don't do it, it doesn't get done." Another saying was, "I talk to myself because I'm the only person I can have an intelligent conversation with." We did plenty and my mom worked hard. He got frustrated just like anyone and he hated dealing with idiots (which is also where I probably get that). He wasn't perfect, but his definition of perfect meant you were on the right road. He used to say, "Perfection is a road, not a destiny." He told us that if we were trying every day to reach a higher plain and see the bigger picture then we were striving for being perfect.
I learned a lot from him. Though I rebelled as a teen and struggled with my own spirituality, he never gave up on me. He knew my heart and mind and left it in my hands and the Lord's. He knew I knew what I was supposed to be doing. He knew he'd taught me everything he could. At some point we just need to let others fall on their butt and then reach out a hand and help them back up when they have fallen. He was like that. He would watch me fall, but was always there to talk about something else I could do to better the situation.
Now he is on the other side. He died 10 years ago this August 15th. He was a strength to me and in a lot of ways my hero as a child. I didn't feel connected to my mom like I felt to him. I didn't feel my mom understood me or knew where my head was like my dad did. Maybe it's because I have always had a touch of tom-boy in me and what my dad was doing made sense. Maybe it was because I was always clumsy and my mom was more graceful and always proper while I was growing up. I don't know why, that's just how it was. While my mom wanted to teach me to cook (which would be handy about now) I went outside and worked on the car with Dad. I would rather have hung out with him than in the kitchen any day. Canning seemed such a bore when I could get greasy on the engine.
Thanks, Dad. I learned a lot and have built on what you have taught. I hope when we meet again you are happy with what I have become. I hope that as I raise my kids they will sense you in the things I teach and in the strength I have gained through your support. I miss you and think of you often. It's hard to believe it's been 10 years because I feel you near so often. I hear your voice sometimes, with that strong baritone and think you are probably up there singing with the angels. Then probably stopping the choir to tell them all how they can improve the song. The thoughts of what you are doing now makes me smile. It's going to be nice to get a hug and talk again. Thanks, Dad.
I have never written about him since he died. I don't know why as I like to write and it makes me feel better. I just never have. 10 years?! How is that possible so much time has passed without his lectures and laughter? I guess it only means all the sooner I can see him again. I'm very thankful that the miracle of his coming back to life when he was 6 years old happened and that I was able to have him for a father. He was a good father.