When I was small I remember laying in bed and the biggest thing I would ask God was for good weather and I always prayed for my Dad to get well.
Dad was a thin mid size man who had the prettiest hazel eyes and dark brown hair. he was a high stress man. It took me a long time to see that this is something I get from my Dad. He had five children and then married and gained three step children. My dad and his new wife had one son together. Making nine to provide for. Dad was a welder and very good welder. He earned welder of the year three years in a row for the State of Wyoming. He was an amazing welder.
Dad was born in the great depression and came from a huge family. Grandmother had to work hard to take care of the family because at times Grandfather would be gone for months at a time. He was not a good man and when he would come home from what Dad shared it was not good. Grandmother and Grandfather brought out the worst in one another.
Life was tough and the world was a different place in Wyoming. My Grandfather was a racist. People of color he had no use for. Dad told me of several times where he had told his boys that he killed two men who were Mexicans for stealing his pelts out of his traps in Colorado. He spoke of throwing a black man into a stove for drinking a shot of Whisky because he had the edacity to drink from the same bar as him. He did terrible things to his children and to those around him.
On another occasion Grandfather was out poaching. The game warden had come out to talk to him and take Grandfather in. Dad remembers seeing his father digging a big hole in the sheep pen and he watched him roll a huge thing into the hole.
My father was afraid that if his Dad would have seen him that night, he would have been in that hole too. The next day my Grandfather moved cattle into that pen. The game warden was never seen again. My father never spoke of his father in good terms. He was a “THUG and poor example of what a father should be.
My father said that his father had been ran out Minnesota, Nebraska and Colorado before settling back in Wyoming. My father tried hard to be a good parent. My Dad had a lot of tough things to over come and in part to what we do not know that he probably endured as a boy.
Sometimes we do not know the heart of what makes a person the way they are. I think my Dad was plagued with things that he endured and it effected his way he approached his personal success and his life. My twin sister Cindy was probably the closest to my father at the end her and Brad my baby brother.
Dad had kidney failure that took him from us in 1985. As I get older I long for that smile in his eyes. When he was happy his whole face smiled. He was an artist, a welder, a farmer and most of all he was my Dad. He never liked the word father. He wanted us to call him Dad. I think it is because his father would not allow his children to refer to him as anything other than “Father”
When I was a 3rd grader I wrote an essay about my Dad. It was entered in the State of Wyoming essay contest and it won 3ed place. I was so proud of that moment in my relationship with my Dad. My sister has a letter he wrote “When you kids would go to school I missed you and could not wait for you all to come home”. He said he always wanted to be the best parent to us he could.
He was protective and hard to understand at times. He would get his feelings hurt and sometimes lash out and make decisions that he wanted to take back. However he was stubborn and had a difficult time saying he was sorry. In my life I too have been this way.
When I was 18 my dad was upset over his Social Security Pension. When my twin sister and I turned 18 our portion would come in our names. it was a some of 54.00 dollars but with nine to feed this was 108.00 dollars he was not going to receive. If my Dad would have explained he needed that money I would have gladly given it to him. He did not. At the time I was dating the man that I married Bryan.
Bryan and I had been to his parents home for dinner and when Bryan brought me home Dad was waiting. I knew something was wrong. He told me that I needed to leave. He was angry I had come home late. I tried to reason with him and he was just very irrational and told me I was just like my mother.
Mom and Dad divorced when I was 8 years old. This really hurt my feelings. Dad had nothing good to say about my Mom. Mom had never been really there even when they were married. Dad and Mom did not seem to ever be together and I really do not remember much of us a family. So knowing how much he hated her made me feel he hated me too. I remember driving away with Bryan sobbing. Dad told me I was not welcome in his house and never to return. I did not. I felt like someone had torn my heart out of my chest. I was truly devastated. Bryan assured me that Dad would calm down. I spoke to my Dad at school. He came to give me a piece of mail. It would be the last time I would speak to my Dad.
What I now realize was a defining moment in my life forever changed my future. this man who was my Dad was a integral part of who I am as a women. His mark on my life I see now. I have learned so many things about Dad thru my own life errors. The biggest error was not going back to see my Dad and asking him for forgiveness. Dad was proud and I did not know how proud until he passed.
My husband told me that he would see my Dad parked across the street from our home watching the house on holidays. Later my baby brother Brad told of times he sat in that pickup with Dad. If only either one of us would have made the move towards reconciliation. I lost valuable time with him. He lost valuable time with me. We do not get to fix things once death takes this chance away.
I loved my father and when he kicked me out he told me I was not to attend his funeral nor would anyone call me to let me know he died. This broke my heart. I prayed and prayed that God would let me know when Dad past.
I had prayed that prayer for 2 plus years. I think this is when I knew God existed in my life. the Bible says in in Philippians 4:6 NLT “Don’t worry about anything; Instead pray about everything. tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. On March 26th 1985 my Dad became ill and my step father took him to the hospital. He had fallen into a coma. They told my step mother their was nothing more they could do for him. My dad did not want to die in a hospital. My step mother had her father load him into the back of his van so he could go home and die. Dad did not make it home.
My real Mother had come home for a visit. Mom had only been back here four times since Dad and her had divorced. My brother Scott was with us. We had ran into town to the grocery store that was about 8 miles from where we lived. On our way back I noticed Ham my step grandfather was pulled off the side of the road near this bar. I thought he might need help. So I flipped around to see if he needed help. Ham got out of his vehicle gesturing me not to get out of my car.
As he approached the vehicle I rolled the window to say hello. As he got to the window you could tell something was wrong! He said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but your Dad is in the back of my van!” “He died right as we passed Henry.” I was speechless. My mother asked why he was setting there? I heard him respond. “We have to wait for the coroner to come out and pronounce him.” I remember trying to speak and all I that came was tears. I drove home and when I got home I went to my room and fell to my knees thanking God for answering my prayers and praying for my Dad. Once I composed myself I called my husband and sister in law. My mother in law and sister in law came to the house to be with us.
I went to the chapel and viewed my father with my Brother Scott and My Mother. Per my father’s wishes I did not attend the funeral. I wept at home at my own brokenness. This would be the beginning to a long road of regrets and forgiveness.
If I could go back and change this, YOU BET I WOULD! Those around us that make us who we are should be valued and we should never close those doors. I will forever be glad for the love I hold for my Dad. Love does not die. Words we do not say as simple as “I am sorry,” could have changed both our roads.
In my journey in loving my earthly Dad my Father in heaven heard my heart. The town Henry that they passed is where I live to this day! God intercepted my Dad on that highway and answered my prayer.