Sunday, January 08, 2012
Okay, it finally looks like I might be back for more than just a day or two. Yes, it has been a rough couple of weeks for me, but I've got to tell you that along with the pain and sadness it was laced with companionship, good will, compassion, and love! I've been almost constantly enveloped by beautiful caring people who made Dad's transition into his next world as easy as it could be made as well as helping guide us gently into a world without him. I am ever so grateful for the gentle care of hospice nurses and aides - they are truly angels here on earth. They were never more than a phone call away and not only assisted my mother in the physical caring of my father, but sat by his bed near the end, held his hand and joined in our tears and grief as well. They even sent a harpist to play for him and mom on a weekly basis. How's that for an angelic activity?
Then there was Pastor Bill, a pastor from their church who visited Dad several times a week and would sit with him, share stories, laugh with him and of course pray with him. Yesterday, he presided over the service that honored Dad and he sounded more like a close friend than a minister. Bill personifies what I think a spiritual leader should look like.
Most importantly we've been surrounded by family and friends! Roughly 150 of them were present for yesterday's service. Many of them spoke publicly of how my father had influenced their lives and although much was said through the shroud of tears, just as much was accompanied by smiles and laughter. There was almost as much mirth as there was sadness. A fitting service for a man who enjoyed his life fully.
I wish I could properly convey how wonderful my family is. My sons shared the reading of the psalms, my wife and daughter-in-laws spent hours upon hours creating a collage of pictures and memorbalia that properly summarized Dad's life with his family, friends and my mother. My granddaughters, ages 7 and 8 handed out the pamphlets to all who came to join us and they brought smiles to everyone. My mother is this tiny petite woman who conveys more strength than any man I know. My one year old grandson stood with me in the greeting line gently playing with my beard, laying his head on my shoulder and smiling to all those whose hands I shook, making a very difficult task so much easier. And then of course, there's Gloria, my wife, who talks me through all of my frustrations, worries and emotional meltdowns.
Yes, it has been a difficult time, but now, my friends, I am happy. Yes happy. I am happy that my father had such a life filled with adventure and an amazing woman that he spent most of his life with. I am happy that I am more blessed than anyone that I know. I am happy that even now that I can honestly tell you that "Life is good!"
Below is a copy of my presentation that I made at Dad's service. I included it here because I believe it will give you a little idea of who my father was.
I’ve got to say that I’ve had a lot of time to prepare this little presentation – We were pretty certain about 18 months ago that Dad wasn’t going to be with us much longer, but somehow he became the energizer bunny and kept going and going and going and we were given a substantial extension on the time we had to spend with him. Perhaps the thing that impressed me the most over this past year was his attitude that he had taken about his situation. Repeatedly, he would tell me that he was a lucky man to be given this extra time to spend with us. Repeatedly, he would talk about his many blessings, which always included his family. Seldom did he complain about his life. Most importantly, he appeared comfortable with his relationship with his God and what God had in store for him after his departure from his earthly body.
Like my father, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, so I apologize ahead of time for choking up as I stand here in front of you.
Dad was a good man who worked hard and played just as hard. His working years were mostly years spent in the service station business partnered up with his dad, Pop Moyer, briefly followed by a time with his brothers Ernie and Stan and then for the majority of years with just my uncle Stan. These businesses did well mostly, in my opinion, because Dad like his father and brothers were friendly and caring people. They treated their customers, as well as their workers as friends. As a result, many of these customers and workers became exactly that – friends. In fact, one of the things that always impressed me was just how many friends Dad and Mom had.
Although, Dad worked long hours for most of the time I lived at home, he always seemed to find the time for the things he loved to do. I’m sure that many of you will remember that Dad was enough of a baseball fanatic that he built his own softball diamond in our back yard – equipped not only with a backstop, but with lights as well. For many summers, double headers were played weekly in our back yard. Bob and I were the only kids I knew with a real baseball diamond for a back yard!
Then of course there were his other interests: fishing, hunting, golf and bluegrass music! Summer after summer found us bass fishing in Canada along with Stan and Ernie’s families. We’d be up a dawn for the early top water fishing, back out in the afternoon with live bait and then again out in the evening to find those bass that were ready to strike right before dark. I think he barely had time to eat. Then after he retired he simply wasn’t getting his fill of fishing with his annual trips to Ontario, so he and Mom started spending winters in Florida where he could chase bass and crappies all winter long.
His deer hunting was something that he was able to drive Mom nuts with right up to the very end. Long after he was having difficulty getting around he was still finding ways to get to his deerstand down in the meadow behind their house. When he was no longer able to walk that far he drove his lawnmower to the stand. He spent hours in that deerstand and harvested quite a few deer from it after most men would have given up the effort.
I was probably 9 or 10 when he started to play guitar and like Dad always did when he decided he like to do something he jumped into it with both feet. Before long he was playing in a bluegrass band, had a collection on guitars, basses, mandies, and I’m not sure what else. Festivals became another summertime requirement.
Dad had a good life and he knew it. Maybe most importantly Dad had a good wife and he knew that too. Mom provided him with the opportunity to spend his hospice care at home with her taking care of him. It was a big job and he knew it and I know that he was very grateful for her. Mom – dad and I both thank you.
I learned a lot from my father. I learned that a good work ethic is important to a happy life and I hope I passed that on from him to my boys. I learned that marriages can work in today’s world, and I hope to be as happily married as long as he and Mom were. I learned that work is only part of life and that the rest of life has to be filled with adventure and fun as well. Glor and I have learned that lesson pretty well. I learned that if you treat others with respect, you get treated with respect as well. I learned that if you’re at peace with your God, death is not nearly as scary, nor is it the end. And to all of you, I say, that learned that the world is a better place because Dad was in it.
I will miss him terribly.