The Word Weaver
Deb Weaver ~ Communicating God's love, grace, & truth
"Missing My Dad"
by The Word Weaver, Deb on June 16th, 2014

I really do not want to write this post. 
 
I’m not ready. 

I don’t suppose I’ll ever be ready, but I can’t seem to write about anything else until I tell you what has happened.
 
My Dad—my funny, strong, beautiful Dad who would have been 85 today—is gone. He endured a short illness from which my sister, brothers, and I expected him to rally. One health problem set off a devastating domino effect of other problems which became insurmountable. 
Francis Edward “Andy” Anderson passed into Eternal Arms in the early morning hours on Thursday, February 13, 2014.
 
His death shocked all of us. His absence has altered us in profound ways. The world is a different, darker, more unsettling place without him. Even months later I’m having trouble getting my footing back.
 
Dad was born the year the stock market crashed and grew up during The Great Depression.  In addition to farming, his parents owned and operated a lumberjack camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Even for a small boy, chores were plentiful, and he remembered milking cows until his hands were raw. Life was hard.
 
And then life got harder.  His mother died from complications following surgery when he was only eleven years old.  His little sister was then sent to live with an aunt because his father couldn’t care for such a young girl on his own.  In one tragedy, my Dad lost both his mother and his sister.
 
Then when Dad was seventeen years old, his father died in a lumberjacking accident.  Orphaned at seventeen—I cannot even imagine.
 
No wonder commitment and faithfulness were woven through his character. He demonstrated it countless ways through his 20+ years of military service to our country, to his wife, and to his children and grandchildren.  In 1954, he vowed to love my Mom “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health”, and he demonstrated that he meant it for nearly fifty-seven years.
 
No wonder family became his priority once he and my Mom married.  He raised the four of us kids with love and discipline with an emphasis on education and hard work.  Many a report card day, we stammered answers to his stern questions, “Why wasn’t that A- an A?” or “Why wasn’t that B a B+?”  He provided educational resources and insisted that we use them. If we didn’t do our best, we knew that our “ass would be grass” and that Dad “would be the lawn mower.”    
 
Dad didn’t just expect us to learn, he was a life-long learner himself.  He kept busy with wood-working and whittling projects, caning chairs, trying new recipes, reading, and attending plays and concerts. 
 
We knew he was in our corner and believed in us.  His confidence and high expectations shored up our own confidence.  When my second grade teacher told my parents, “Your daughter is so painfully shy that she will be seriously inhibited in life,” he never believed it so I didn’t either. 
 
No wonder love was an action verb in our house. Verbalizing his love didn’t come naturally to Dad until I was 14 and my Mom had a paralyzing stroke; after that, Dad said it often.  Though he improved in speaking words of love, doing things for others always remained his favorite, most natural way of expressing it.  While I was at the hospital giving birth to my firstborn, Dad stopped by my house and snagged my grocery list off the refrigerator.  When I returned, my pantry was full and there were two freshly baked strawberry-rhubarb pies on the counter. He baked treats for my sister’s card club and helped paint my younger brother’s new home.  Rare were the moments he wasn’t doing something for someone.
 
No wonder he was intentional about “showing up” and making memories.  He kidded with and christened our friends with colorful nicknames such as: “Cabbage Head”, “Snot #2”, “Charlie Brown”.  We took incredible family vacations across the United States.  Every winter he built an ice skating rink in the backyard. We went snowmobiling and camping.  His son-in-laws were among his favorite fishing buddies. 
 
Dad was an awesome, fun grandparent. He encouraged their hobbies and interests.  He made special events a priority, attending weddings, graduations, games, and performances of his grandkids. Two years ago, he traveled with my younger brother and sister-in-law to meet us at Cedar Point. He even rode three of the big rides. My daughter updated her Facebook status from the park, writing: “I’m a wuss! My 83 year old Grandpa has ridden more roller coasters than me!”
Dad was one of the most generous, open-hearted people I know.  He enveloped others into his heart and life. He shared stories, jokes, advice, opinions, pies, jam, garden produce, and wood-working creations.   
 
I got my sense of humor from Dad.  We both learned to temper our reactions (most of the time) through the years.  He was opinionated, but he learned to listen.  He let us make mistakes.  He worried about us.  Out-going and funny, he was a master at greeting and welcoming others. “The first time you visit you’re our guest; after that, you’re a habit.”  Then he’d laugh.  Oh, how I miss his infectious laugh.  
Dad shared himself with the world, and we are richer as a result.  He left a treasure-trove of memories. 
 
I had a dream a few weeks ago.  In it, I was planning a big birthday party for my Dad.  I was scurrying around finalizing details and trying to type up all the reasons I was grateful for him.  As the time for the party got closer, I kept frantically saying, “I’m not ready.  I’m not ready.” 
 
Then I awoke and remembered that Dad was gone. 
 
I’m not ready for that either.
 
The hole and the heartache is immense. In the stormy waves of grief, I’m clinging to the One who carries me. 
 
Isaiah 40:11 (NIV) “He tends His flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in His arms; He carries them close to His heart…”


******
​You may want to read another post I wrote about my Dad in 2012 called When Superman Ages.

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Copyright 2014, The Word Weaver, Deb Weaver


Posted in Life Transitions    Tagged with Dad, Father, Grief


16 Comments

Jackie - June 16th, 2014 at 12:19 PM
Loved this! He was a great man!

The Word Weaver, Deb - June 16th, 2014 at 12:29 PM
He was one of a kind!
Ida Murphy - June 16th, 2014 at 1:58 PM
Beautifully written,Deb. Brought tears to my eyes especially when my dad passed two days later.
The Word Weaver, Deb - June 16th, 2014 at 4:03 PM
Thanks, Ida. (((HUGS))) for your hurting heart, too.
Mickey - June 16th, 2014 at 5:01 PM
Wow Deb thanks for the many wonderful memories of your dad. My mom is still having a tough time with the passing of your dad. Hugs to all
The Word Weaver, Deb - June 16th, 2014 at 7:03 PM
Your Mom has been such a good friend to our family over the years. I'm so glad we were neighbors, Mick!
Deb - June 16th, 2014 at 7:30 PM
Beautiful Deb.
The Word Weaver, Deb - June 17th, 2014 at 3:11 PM
Thanks, Deb! :)
Laura - June 16th, 2014 at 9:38 PM
Thank you Deb for the beautiful tribute to Uncle Andy! What a great childhood we all had!
The Word Weaver, Deb - June 17th, 2014 at 3:11 PM
So true!
Andrea - June 17th, 2014 at 10:18 AM
That was beautiful Deb. Thank you for sharing your dad with us.

The Word Weaver, Deb - June 17th, 2014 at 3:12 PM
Thanks, Andrea. Continued prayers for your family.
Mary - June 17th, 2014 at 4:20 PM
Through tears and love, I respond. I wish I had known him. My life would be richer also, clearly.
His life and lessons and joy are stored inside you and you use them beautifully and lovingly. You are a habit and a treasure.


The Word Weaver, Deb - June 17th, 2014 at 4:34 PM
He was one of a kind! Your comment brought both tears and smiles. Thank you.
~ linda - December 21st, 2014 at 8:26 PM
Dear Deb, this is my first visit here and I am so grateful for I am truly missing my Mama. She has been gone just about a year longer than your Dad, but the empty spot does not leave very quickly, I must say. I miss her so and still want to visit, call, hug, and all that wonderful stuff.
The pictures of your Dad make me smile and you really have woven your words beautifully to describe your precious father. You have given me much to ponder here, Deb.
May your Christmas be filled with the gift of Christ and the memories of your father and family.
Caring through Christ, ~ linda
The Word Weaver, Deb - December 22nd, 2014 at 3:48 PM
Linda, thank you for your kind, understanding words. There is just an inexplicable hole in your heart and life when a parent passes away. May the Lord enfold you in His continued comfort, love, and peace.
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