A little background:
Dad had a stroke in 1979, when he was 62 years old. He recovered enough to walk and later, even drive again… but his speech was greatly affected. After being a Pastor for nearly 40 years, he had to retire. Through months of speech therapy, he was able to learn to talk again, but it was never the same.
We accepted him “where he was” and enjoyed many more years with him and Mom. As he aged into his 80’s, it became more difficult for him to think of the right words to say. It was frustrating for him. His spontaneous communication was mainly with family and some of the nursing staff who became so special in his later years; but Dad always had a smile.
While still living in their home, (1979-1998) prior to moving to a retirement/assisted living apartment, we learned about a special secret.. (a secret place so to speak), and you will discover it as you read on. Our Dad went to Heaven at age 90. At his Memorial Service (November 2008), which was led by my brother Randy, my other brother asked me to read the following, which I want to share with you in memory of our Dad on Father’s Day.
“When I was little, I could feel the love, strength and protection from my Dad. He carried me on his shoulders, held my hand, and tied my shoes. He took care of business when three older bullies were acting tough on me (P.S. the bullies weren’t too smart, they were doing their thing right outside Dad’s church office).
Dad gave sympathy and encouragement when athletics didn’t go my way; and he was always there to watch me in sports. Dad taught me to throw, catch, shoot hoops, swim, and hit a golf ball. He told me that one of the most important aspects of any sport is the follow through. The jump shot – follow through; shortstop to first – follow through; golf swing – follow through; to hit a home run – follow through.
Dad was there when I went into the Navy and when I got out. He was there when I was a man. He was there when I got married (but I told him he couldn’t be there on the honeymoon). Dad was there – in my life always. You see, Dad followed through in his commitment as a Father. He followed through in life. He followed through in marriage. He followed through in Christ.
After his stroke, one might think that his follow through would not be as good. But it was. He prayed for his family, friends and those who didn’t know Christ. He always had a special spot for himself and God – a quiet place. (My note: It was in a back area of the basement in their home). Even when he thought no one was watching, as he prayed and read the Bible, sometimes they were; and I was.
No matter how old Dad was, whether before or after his stroke, he followed through. Dad followed through even on the day he went to Heaven. Looking at me he pointed to his eye, then he touched his heart, and then he pointed at me: I – Love – You! Dad, thanks for following through, Rod.”
“Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties”