I miss my father a lot. He died of a heart attack while scuba diving over 20 years ago. I was 31 years old. It was way too soon for me to lose him. I doubt there is a day I don’t think about him.
I needed him then, but I need him now even more. I have some questions I need to ask him, but he is not here to ask.
After my father died, a business associate of his said to me, “Your father died without enemies. For a man as wildly successful as your father, I can’t think of a higher compliment.” That has been a comfort to me over the years. I pray the same could be said of his children. He was honest, fair and generous to a fault. Rare qualities.
Near the time of the funeral, a boyhood friend of my father asked me, “Did he ever tell you about the time he laid down his Harley?” He went on to tell me about my father’s motorcycle accident that Dad never got around to telling me about. That explained why he would never allow me to ride a motorcycle on the street. We had a motorcycle that I was able to ride on the ranch, but never on the road. He protected me.
He cared patiently for my mother while she suffered with multiple sclerosis for 20 years. He taught me patience and tenderness where it really counts.
He taught me how to ride, care for and love horses when I was a young boy. He played eight tracks of Johnny Cash and the Sons of the Pioneers and Frankie Lane. He took me snow skiing when I was only 6 years old. He loved to laugh every day, and he taught me how important it was to see the humor in everything. He taught me to always look things up in the dictionary and encyclopedia if I didn’t know what a word meant or if I was unfamiliar with a topic. In fact, he bought me my very own set of encyclopedias when I was 8 or 9 years old (Britannica Junior). Without him really trying to pass these things on, all the things he took the time to teach me have meant something to me my whole life.
He used to say to me, “It doesn’t matter so much what you are as who you are.” It took me a lot of years to figure out what that one meant. He also used to say, “I’ll give you something to cry about!” And he often did do something if I didn’t stop crying—something I did a little too often when I was a boy.
In spite of his mistakes and quirks, I love him and miss him dearly. In fact, I think I love him more because of his quirks and mistakes.
Dad, thank you for being you and teaching me the difference between a good man, an average man, and a great man.
If your father is still alive, you are blessed. You still have the opportunity,
in this life, to thank him for the good things he has done or to reconcile
your disappointments. Whatever your relationship with your father, God placed him there so you could help each other, no matter the good or bad things either of you have done in your life. May you have the courage to speak your mind and heart to him this Father’s Day.