These wo special fathers left this world much too young, but are not forgotten. My dad was raised by a single mother, along with his three siblings. No one ever speaks about his father, except to say that he abandoned his family when they were all very young. Being raised by only their mother, they suffered through the depression years – had to go to work at an early age – became self-sufficient – but longed for a father image to follow. I belieive they found that hero in their grandfather – their mother’s dad. He was a stern German man of exceptional height for his time. He was close to six feet and even though he appeared to have a stiff upper lip, he taught his grandchildren to be independent and to rely on God in their lives. My dad was a smaller fellow. He was short – about 5″4.” Because he had to find his own way at a very young age, he didn’t enjoy the benefits of being a kid. He had a poor self-image, but he knew a lot about everything. What he didn’t know, he would search for in books. He realized the importance of Christian education and made sure we attended Sunday School and continue through high school. He liked his martinis and beer, but rarely seemed intoxicated after consuming them. He worked as a bartender, to supplement the family income, which may have contributed to his own drinking. He never rose a hand to spank. He didn’t have to. The “look” was all that was necessary. That which wasn’t covered by the look, was carried into verbage that made it clear that he was disappointed in us. He was delegated to tell us about the birds and the bees, because mom was too embarassed. So to prepare himself, he bought a book all about the subject. I wondered if he was trying to find out for himself or if what he learned would be for our benefit. He died at the age of 61 after a long battle with lung cancer.
My Father-in-law was a funeral director. I was so relieved when my husband decided not to follow the family business, but that’s a story for another time. He was on call 24/7 and would often be wakened in the middle of the night to receive the body of someone’s loved one. He had a quiet sense of humor and loved to escape to the lake home on weekends to go fishing. He would spend hours on the lake. Then he would return to the reeality of his profession. He was the perfect man for the job, because he was compassionate, an artist in his own rite, kind and comforting. There were many hours that he would spend just waiting. During those hours, he would spend time working for his church and staying active with the Lutheran high school alumni board. His eyes were sparkling blue and his smile was engaging. When Paul and I were dating, we often used the funeral car for dates, which meant calling in regularly to see if the car needed to return home. Since cell phones weren’t invented yet, this was not an easy task. I never liked riding in that car anyway – even though it was very classy. He died at the age of 56 of a brain aneurysm in his sleep. It was difficult for the entire family to lose the leader of the tribe so very young.
Both of these dads had strong faith and trusted in God’s plan for their lives. Neither of them would have wished to die so young, but apparently God wanted them to come to heaven at that time. Each of these men raised two children each. I think we all turned out pretty good and have inherited a zeal for Christ, which they demonstrated throughout their young lives. We need to treasure the time we have with those we love, because we never know when we won’t have them anymore. I know they’re enjoying the benefits of heaven and that we will meet again.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO MY DAD & MY FATHER-IN-LAW IN HEAVEN!
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1 ESV