I have not done any writing since the time in and around my father’s passing. My father passed away on September 2, 2016. The following is the tribute speech I delivered at the service.
I just wanted to start off with something from Lamentations 3:22-23.
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
When I was a young boy, my father never stopped me from doing the things I wanted to do. It was his way of letting me explore through trial and error. He didn’t persuade me to not be a Texas Ranger fan. He bought me a Ranger’s cap and I proudly wore it to his softball games. He let me wander through the woods behind our house, staking out the next best place for a clubhouse. He never forgot the time I misspelled “private” on one of the clubhouses. He would tell me the story every year around the holidays.
As I grew older, I naturally became more independent. He bought me a ten speed bicycle and I rode that bike from Spotswood to Thompson Park. Eventually, I rode that bike to my first job at Fernwood Cemetery. He bought me a telescope and let me stay out very late to dream about what I was under or to watch shooting stars. But, before all this independence and still young; he took me fishing. We fished together for many years. However, we would never keep the fish and always toss them back. Until one day, I reeled in a huge pickerel out of Helmetta Pond. We had to keep it. He was so proud of me. As I got older, my independence took me away from fishing and I know that was difficult.
Over many years, I simply refused any material assistance from my parents. I already had been given so much.
This past year, I built my own website and once again dad was so amazed and proud.
A few weeks ago, we had a brief conversation about his upcoming operation. I had an overbearing feeling that the operation and recovery would be difficult for him. I think he knew it too. We also discussed my kitchen renovation plans. Just before the operation, he ordered me several tools to do the job without telling me because it made him happy. Shortly, he ended up right back in the hospital. I accepted those tools without any grief or hesitation. I felt his time diminished and I think he knew it too.
When I saw him last, he was finally at peace.
I told him, “Thanks. Thanks for making me for who I am. Thanks for everything. I am grateful for all of it but you already gave me the best thing. Life. Thanks for life, dad.”
C. Gandy. Written 9-7-16. Vision cast 9-8-16