I know a lot of people think they have the best Dad. I guess that's kind of normal for kids to idolize a parent.
But when other kids also think you have the best Dad, the notion becomes a bit more persuasive.
I know, without any doubt, that I have the best Dad in the world. I'm using present tense because I will see him again some wonderful day. He isn't gone. He's just moved to another place.
But my father, oh he was the best person I've known. When I wrote his picklesnoot biography, I wasn't exaggerating or kidding. He and my grandmother are the kindest, most moral, most gentle human beings I have known. And my Dad is also brilliant, just the smartest person who could figure out any math or science problem and remember how to speak Spanish decades after his last class. He didn't have an English degree, but his grammar and spelling were always impeccable.
I know, I know. Intellect isn't important.
But this is: he was and is a good person. He cared about others. He made sure they felt comfortable, welcome, happy if he possibly could. Like Pastor Osbourne said: he was a lifter--where most everyone else around him was a leaner.
And he was so very funny. Games with Dad--Balderdash and Pictionary--were the best times on this earth. You were guaranteed to laugh yourself sore and that Dad would laugh himself into asthma.
And hard working to a fault. Didn't matter if he felt like it or not, he mowed the lawn, cleared the driveway, picked up the dog messes, did the dishes. He kept working until there was no more work to be done.
But most of all, he was the best Dad anyone has ever had. He never judged or expected, he just supported and loved and gave and cheered us on to whatever goal we focused on. He lead by example. I told him more than once that he was so perfect it was hard to us to live up to that, but he just laughed that off.
He was warm. Physically, very warm. He always had very dry hands because of all the paperwork, but he was warm and very strong. And he had a pudgy tummy that was soft and comfy.
And his voice was soft and gentle and most of the time playful. He was always teasing. He teased mother, he teased his kids, he teased his grandkids. Sometimes he would make up wild words for animals. Often, he would just make up funny names for himself or us--
hence "Picklesnoot"--the name he invited Madison to call him.
Hence the "Snoots" because we're Dad's family.
I love him more than words can convey. In my bio I wrote that home and family are my heart. And that is true.
My heart is broken.
I know that it will heal over time. A former boss who worked with Dad and knows how special he is/was, also had one of the world's most amazing Dads and lost him suddenly. She said it takes ten years. And my uncle, who lost his Dad at 13, said there will never be a day you won't miss him.
I believe this things are true.
But I also owe it to the most wonderful man that ever lived in this world to make his influence positive, to take his example and follow it, to keep trying to make him proud, to take care of the people he loves. To the best of my ability, take that wonderful love that he gave us and hold it deep inside as the precious, golden treasure that it is. Don't use it as a means to pain because that isn't what love is for. Love is to uplift and heal.
So I'm going to try with all my might to feel all the good in that love and not to feel the pain of not having him here.
In some ways, this is just The Longest Tax Season Ever. It's going to be a huge chunk of months before I get to spend time with him again.
But I will get to spend time with him again. Dad got one of the lucky exits where he probably felt almost no pain, he didn't have to spend time worrying about himself or us, he just suddenly trotted off to join the rest of the family that moved on before us. He's with my Bete-Muff and Grandpa and Gramie and Richard and his dog Peppie and Princess and Boo. I'm sure my Grandpa gave him the biggest, longest hug when he saw him.
Oh I miss him.
It hurts so much. I know I owe it to him to turn that pain into joy at all the beautiful years we were lucky enough to bask in his love and gentle, funny presence. I will work on that.
He no doubt understands, though. He's Dad. He always forgives (even if he didn't always read my emotions correctly or know the absolute right words to say to make me feel better, he always tried his 100% best and always intended to soothe and uplift and cheer--I wish to my depths I had reacted better on the occasions when his words inadvertently hit raw nerves. Oh how I wish I could take back some of my sharp reactions. Dad, I'm so sorry.)
I wish I'd been a better daughter. I know that he knows I love him and that I know he's the greatest Dad, but I still wish I'd been a much better daughter. He deserved so much better. I could have done better. I'll try..
I'll try to be that better person. I'll try much harder to follow his example.
I hate that he only had 64 years. I hate that I had him less than 39. I hate that my siblings had him even fewer years.
But oh how I love, love, love every precious year we did have him. Every minute. He was a treasure.
I love him. I love him so much.
Oh Dad... my world was so much about you. I wanted you to be able to retire and enjoy your life. I wanted you to be so happy and so healthy. All my goals and dreams were to that end.
I know you would be disappointed to see me dreamless, so I'm working on finding new ones. My whole frame of reference is gone.
Home and family are my heart.
My heart--half of it anyway--is missing.
I'm going to try to make you proud. I know you would support any dream I focused on and help me to achieve it. I will keep on trying to figure out what God intends for me in this little life.
Like Grandma, I am more focused on my life's end--and wishing it comes soon--than I am on any other thing right now. I know that's not what you would want. I'll try to do better. I honestly will. I will find something to focus on.
Perhaps my nephew the Bun Frog will become part of my hopes/dreams. I don't know.
And perhaps I'll reconsider having a child. Maybe.
It's a tough call now that you're gone. Nearly unthinkable. I just don't know.
Oh you were so good, so blessedly endlessly good.
You are so good. I don't know if you're still watching us. I believe strongly that you were in the first several days. I hope you saw your service because there was a lot of love there.
I don't have the right to ask another single thing of you. You have amply earned your place in heaven. But if it pleases you, please peek in on us from time to time.
Oh Dad, I just don't know how to look at life anymore. I am so confused. I feel nearly blind. This world, it's so gorgeous right now, but all I can feel is the heaviness of your absence in it when I should be celebrating the return of spring. I know you would never want us to be burdened and hurt by your loss, you would want us to remember the good times and let them bring us peace and joy.
I'm going to try.
I swear that I will.
I'll also do what I can to be a better member of this family and to make mother happy and support my brother and sister.
And I'll keep trying to find a dream that nestles happily in my heart.
I'll probably also keep writing at you because I just can't help it.
Your whumpouses and picklesnoots and pugglethumpers--all your silly words, your backwards names. We used to do the jumble in the morning and your minds was always quick as a bear trap.
Oh how I'll miss decorating the yard for holidays with you.
How I'll miss the holidays themselves, with you.
Oh Dad, I love you. Please please be happy and laugh and be warm and safe and not sad for us while you're in heaven waiting for the rest of us to show up and join in the next round of Pictionary. Please please...
God, please help us to heal. Please. Please let us glow from the light of the love he gave us. Let it shine right out so others can see the influence, see that his love was so good and powerful that it made us better people. Please please please.
Oh Dad, I miss you so much. I'm ashamed of how much it hurts.
But Mandy said, and she's right, that it's right that it hurts this much. It would be a dishonor if it didn't.
But I don't want to focus on that.
I want to focus on the good. The love.
Forever, the love.