I shared a portion of a letter I wrote to my parents on their 50th wedding anniversary in 2000. Each parent had a part of the letter. My mother’s part was posted earlier.
- My father died from Dementia and a stroke years ago. I still think of him and my mother every day. He was a good, kind- hearted, loving father and husband. He was dedicated to his family and was active in our care and education too.
We had a good idea, Daddy, of what our heavenly Father was like because of the example you set. You were the patient, kind, affectionate, gentle, protective, instructive, forgiving and just disciplinarian.
Because of my relationship with you I can speak to God as my Father, who cares for me. You always seemed to know how to make things better by putting them in proper perspective by giving a helping hand, a funny joke, or a word of encouragement.
You were the provider of our needs and therefore fostered in my siblings and I a trusting relationship with God because we knew if our earthly father provided for us so well, then our Heavenly Father would be even better.
From a child’s point of view you were my hero. You had to be gone sometimes to drive buses or airplanes and I remember missing you.
I sometimes think I enjoyed watching Roy Rogers on television so much because he had a kind, smiling, friendly face and always came to the rescue with Dale. (I thought mother favored Dale too.) I could see him on the television when you were gone and think of you.
I think my earliest memory is of Moma and I waiting up for you to come home, from one of your trips, way past my bedtime. I remember being very sleepy but being fully awake when you came home. I remember horse-playing with you on the couch with the warm soft corduroy shirts you liked to wear and feeling so loved and secure.
One thing I learned from Daddy was humor. Humor added texture to our lives, just as music did. I learned to laugh at all kinds of things, including myself. Daddy used to say, ” If you can laugh at yourself, you’ll never be lacking for something to laugh about.”(Actually from Shilrley MacLane.)
Boy, do I laugh a lot!! My wacky sense of humor, I learned from both of you helped me to see things others don’t see in ways others don’t see. (No I don’t hallucinate!) This sense of humor has helped me keep my sanity (questionably) in many stressful times. I learned from you two that the world was a big and wondrous place, full of people and things to learn about, care about and live with.
This part was for both parents.
Watching us grow up, learn and live, hopefully, at least most of the time was a reward of sorts for all the tears, prayers, and effort you two spent: caring for us, playing with us, nurturing us, sacrificing for us, staying up late with us, and always, always worrying about us.
I have tons of other memories but I’d better leave something for my sisters and brother to say. Because of your efforts the world is four good people better off. Thank you, Moma and Daddy for the examples you set, for making our childhoods so rich with love, memories, experiences, and each other. You did a great job.
You know actually your job isn’t finished. We still need you. You are our examples of what life ahead can be like. You are needed here still to advise and support us. But most of all we still need your love and prayers.
Thank you both for doing such a great job. We stand as monuments to your skills as parents and to your love.
I believe they still help me or are near me sometimes. Perhaps they are still asking God to protect and help us to continue to grow. I still love you, Daddy.