What will people say of me
When I'm only just a memory
Was I love
When no one else would show up
Was I Jesus to the least of us
The opening to one of my favorite songs. It really is a good standard to live by. God commands us to love our neighbor as we love our self. There have been several men who have influenced my life but none greater than my Dad. As I thought about who on earth would I want to most live like and again that is my dad.
My Dad came from a large family where he was on the low middle end. He dated my Mom in college, got her pregnant and then married her. He was hired by a company in Chicago and by 1969 he had me and my sister and a wife who was falling apart. Mom was addicted to pills, in and out of mental hospitals and was coming from a life time of tragedy at a real early age. They were not part of a church nor did they have any family in the area. It was during this time that I observed my mothers attempted suicide.
My dad has spent his life caring for others. He and Mom ended up being "saved off the streets" and by the mid-80's our family was fairly stable. By the 90's things began to unravel. My sister was severely depressed and fairly reliant on Dad till she died in 2005. Financially, emotionally and often was living with him with her children. After 25 years of a good marriage my mother slipped, ended up back on drugs and had an affair. This devastated him but he packed his family up and came back to KS to re-group. Mom went to an IP recovery unit and though she "made it" their marriage was never quite the same. During this time he was supporting my sister and myself at times as well. He was working two jobs and did so till they day he retired. In retirement he still works PT and I know part of that is to help me.
The only time I have ever seen my dad cry is when his daughter died in 2005. Shortly after that I was laid off and my own myriad of issues began. Lisa left behind 2 girls, the youngest with no father or even knowing who he was. My parents began raising her 3 year old and trying to help the 16 year old. Nine months later my Mom had her stroke. Here was my Dad with a dead daughter, a son without a job and a wife in a semi-vegetative state, approaching retirement and raising a bi-racial 4 year old. I never heard him complain. I heard him wish things were different but never in a negative way.
Mom is now home and though people yell us how great that is, they have no clue what that practically means. Mom's stroke has left her unable to have any sort of a relationship with him or anyone else. She requires 24/7 care and if he goes away he has to pay a care taker to stay overnight. He also has no coverage at night or part of the weekends so part of his retirement is caring for her, changing her, feeding her, etc....Meanwhile he is still helping me both financially and emotionally. His oldest grand daughter steals from him without acknowledging or even caring how it affects him. His now 12 year old grand daughter is involved in about 3 sports and is on the go. She also has her own issues regarding her mothers death.
This has managed to draw him closer to God, not further away. He could easily put Mom in a home, find someone else to raise his grand daughter and no one would blame him, in fact most would say it's about time. My Dad is the greatest man on earth I know
I Love you Dad