Thank you for all of the love, support, and prayers for my family during this difficult time. I am so grateful that I was able to spend over two weeks with my family in my hometown.
We were able to celebrate my dad’s life and legacy by wearing our University of Michigan gear to church, going to his favorite diner for breakfast, and setting off fireworks. It was wonderful to see how many lives he touched at work, at home, on the baseball field, or the golf course. The outpouring of support from our small town was so moving and it is something I know I will never forget.
My dad would have hated being the center of attention like that. Of course, that is just my style. You see, over the years I perfected the art of doing little things to poke at him…just a bit… like he loved doing to all of us. For example, when I would come home to visit, I would purposefully sit in his spot on the couch just so I would get “the ‘shoo’ gesture” to move out of the way. I also enjoyed making him uncomfortable by saying “I love you” and giving him niiice long hugs before I would leave. For anyone that ever tried to hug my dad, you know what I was up against. He would stand stock still or maybe give you a pat on the back if it was a special occasion. My dad was not the kind of person who would say “I love you” often. I could probably count on my fingers the amount of times I’ve heard it over the years. There was one time in college that I was so sick and called home in the middle of the night. My dad answered and told me to keep hydrated, rest…and then he said that he loved me. Of course, being a hypochondriac, I started crying. I was convinced that I had some rare disease that only he knew about and he was saying goodbye forever. No, my dad did not say the words often, but he showed us every day that he loved us through his actions. When we were growing up, my dad worked a swing shift and it was not uncommon for him to work 80+ hours a week. Yet, somehow he made it to every sports event, band concert, and play. He would sacrifice the few hours of sleep between shifts or use vacation time to be there for us. He would show his love by editing my English papers over and over again until I could get them up to his standards. Or by bringing home a huge knife to sharpen and scare away any boys that wanted to date me. On father’s day this year, he came over to see my new house, and then bought/transplanted 5 plants. When dad found out that I assembled my new lawn mower with needle nose plyers he went out and bought me an entire set of socket wrenches. He was determined that my brother and I would never go without and he succeeded. He didn’t have to tell us he loved us. We knew.
I also know I will continue to miss him every day. But I am so thankful for the time I had with him and I will cherish the wonderful memories that I have.
I continue to be thankful for the amazing people I have around me, both in my hometown and here in West Michigan. To my family and my “family of friends” – I don’t know what I would do without you. It has been the hardest year of my life, I have lost so much. However, by the grace of God and with my amazing support system, I continue to be blessed and amazed by the goodness around me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.