My father, the gentle giant. Hard worker, family man, Christian, lover of music, Republican, NRA member, Vietnam Veteran. These are just a few characteristics of my dad. To try and understand his end in life, is to understand his life and his legacy.
My dad sparked my faith in Jesus Christ. He took me to church, bought me my first bible, and baptized me. He read his bible every single day.
He loved his family and my mother unconditionally.
His favorite hobby was reloading bullets and competition shooting. He was at the gun club every single weekend, without fail. He didn’t shoot very well, but that’s not why he went. He loved the friendships he made. He was a very respected man.
The mountains were his favorite place to be. We went camping and hiking when I was a kid. His last hike was just a month before he passed away. When we would be hiking in the forest, he would stop, pause, and say ‘Look at these trees, smell the fresh, clean air. This is happiness!’
He loved his music. CCR, Rolling Stones, Lovin Spoonful, Beatles, Beach Boys. These are just a few of his favorites. He cranked his music up and sung away. He could name the month and year that the songs came out.
He loved working with his hands. He taught me how to change the oil in my car, how to reload bullets, and how to work the lawnmower.
My father was a quiet man, but he taught me much. He taught me how to be a good friend. He taught me how to have a good work ethic. He taught me how to be compassionate to everyone I meet. He taught me how to respect and be respected. He taught me to love Jesus.
My father has been through many hardships in his life. He lost his 12 year old sister in a tragic hiking accident when he was only 17 years old. He didn’t have a father figure growing up. He went to war. He fell off a ladder and broke his arm. He’s had surgeries on his shoulders. He had stomach surgery, after needing 6 blood transfusions. And lastly, he had radiation treatments for his prostate cancer that came to an end in October 2016. He was so proud and happy to have made it through his treatments, and be cancer free! Woohoo! What didn’t end was his hormone therapy. He needed the maximum 2 years of hormone shots to deter his cancer from coming back. That’s when side effects started.
What my dad did, was completely out of character. Something we didn’t see coming or could have ever prepared for. That last decision he made in his life, does not define him. My sister was reminded of this bible verse: 2 Timothy 4:7 ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith’. And that’s exactly what my dad did. I am proud to call him my dad.