Sunday, April 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My dad was born 99 years ago today. He died in 1988, 6 weeks after TP was born, two weeks after he turned 80, and 1 day shy of my 34th birthday. He had two goals toward the end of his life - to live to be 80 years old, and to see his youngest child (me) become a mom. God was merciful to grant Dad the achievement of both of those goals.

My dad was a rugged fireman and bricklayer. He had an 8th grade education, grew up in a fun-loving Canadian family with Irish and Scottish roots (in fact, there is a little town in Scotland which bears my maiden name). He met my mother and instantly fell in love, but she wouldn't marry him until he converted to Catholicism, which he did. He was never a religious man, but he believed in God and hard work and having a good time and loving his family - so I believe his shortcomings were far outweighed by the good in his heart and his actions. I was, without a doubt, my "daddy's little girl", and I knew how to wrap him around his little finger. When I became a teenager, and right after the loss of my mom, Dad and I had many bitter fights - but we grew closer once I was out on my own. We grew to respect each other, and we were more alike than different in many ways.

A year or two before my dad died, he was in the midst of congestive heart failure, so we were called to his bedside. He was obviously in great distress - his arms were thrashing repetitively in a motion similar to the one he had used when laying bricks years before, and he was talking about all sorts of things of which we couldn't make sense. There was great discussion amongst my family members about whether or not we should "let him go peacefully" or put him on life support. The decision was miraculously taken out of our hands the following morning, when he began to dramatically improve. He pulled me aside for a private talk, and told me that he had seen mom the day before! He had also seen his brothers and a friend who had died a couple of weeks earlier - all of them were urging him to return to earth to finish his life, and that they'd be waiting for him to return someday. There were tears in my dad's eyes - because he honestly believed that he had had a glimpse of heaven! I had tears in my eyes, too, because here was a guy who'd never even heard of an out-of-body experience, actually having one - and it drew him closer to God in his last years of life.

So, Daddy, I know you're in heaven now, celebrating your birthday with Mom and all of our other loved ones. Say "hi" to Mom for me, let her know I'm doing fine and so are the kids. I miss you, and I look forward to seeing you some day for all eternity. I love you!


At 5:27 PM, Blogger ukok said...

Reading this beautiful post bought tears to my eyes, Val.

To think that men like your Dad and mine, who lived so much of their lives apart from 'religion', could be touched so deeply in their hearts by the hand of the Lord.

Your Dad sounds a lot like mine, which means that he must have been very special indeed.


At 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Grandpa tell Grandma that I said hi I love you both. and please tell Grandma Sarah Hi for me as well if you have met her yet..


At 10:21 AM, Blogger Imperfect Christian said...

How blessed you were to have him in your life! Happy Birthday to your father.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Angie said...

Okay, so I am teared up big time....not always the best thing when you are the receptionist at a law firm...and everyone wants to know "what's wrong"...if I tell them I just read the most awesome blog they will immediatly think, let's get you something else to do! Not really, they actually don't mind when I have my billing system work caught up (and I do!). I also just read the "Doubly Blessed" and just tumbled back through the years with you to a time (simpler time) when my own 2 girls were young. I guess I have had "motherhood" on my heart much and wrote about a specific mothering trial in my own blog. But with God's help and get through it all....and move on to the next trial/trouble/growing spot!
I enjoyed your blog! Thanks for sharing the "sight of heaven". I have precious grandparents there waiting for me!

At 9:53 AM, Anonymous ProphetJoe said...

Tears of joy, tears of loss, tears of love... all mixed together.

I have to stop reading your blog at work! Great post, Valerie, as usual!

At 10:23 PM, Blogger annb said...

Valerie, what beautiful memories! I lost my Dad 12 years ago and, as you know, my Mom in February this year. I believe that your Dad saw your Mom in the days before his passing. My Mom told me the same thing in the weeks before her death - that she had seen my Dad and her parents! I thank our merciful and loving God - that he gives those "sights" and beautiful memories at the end of our life on this earth! I, too, look forward to seeing my parents again one day! Thank you for sharing such beautiful memories!

At 5:17 PM, Anonymous nettie said...

That's pretty romantic, that he pledged his heart to God to win his sweetheart.

At 10:44 PM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Hi Deb - I thought of your dad when I was writing this!!!!

TP - I'm certain he'll let Grandma Esther and Grandma Sara "hi". He actually met Grandma here on earth!

CJ - Thank you!

Angie - Welcome to my blog, and thank you for your kind comments. I'll come and visit you sometime, too!

Joe - Tears at work?! Oh my!

Ann - You're welcome. And I've been thinking about you lately, with Mother's Day coming closer.

Nettie - My dad WAS a pretty romantic guy! :-)


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