Saturday, February 9, 2013

Never Say Goodbye

You were my first love and my hero. You were always bigger than life. When I was small you carried me on your shoulders and I felt safe from the world. Each night I would climb in your lap while my sister had the place of honor at your feet. It wasn’t until I met Jesus, years later, I would understand how significant this was. I just knew I felt loved. You always brought me a glass of water and tucked me in and left the light on until I fell asleep. 

I remember the trips to ‘The Plant’ where you would go up rickety stairs to your office and my brother and I would get free hot chocolate and cookies from the vending machine, then ride the conveyer rollers through the buildings and collect bottle caps. We’d wait at the barber’s and read comic books while you had your hair cut and pick up sandwiches at Galco’s delicatessen for the rest of the family.

You and Grandpa JoJo would sit under the eaves listening to the Dodger game on the radio tipping back the deck chairs and wearing ball caps, while I watched you cheer. You took me to Dodger Double Headers and even when we were down by 6 runs and everyone else had left the stadium, we stayed and you said, “We only need 7 runs this inning. That’s all we need.” That’s the kind of faithfulness you had and you birthed a knowledge in my heart that you were worthy of that same kind of trust and indeed you were. You were always there for me and never gave up.

We went to a store a long way from home and bought snacks, only to realize we didn't pay for the bag of chips in my arms that got overlooked, as we talked and laughed. We drove all the way back to the store and made it right. Almost everywhere we went, people gave you too much change and you always gave it back, because you were a man of character and of honor.

I remember the night you left, when you and Mom divorced. I was sure I would not survive the night, my heart was breaking so painfully, but you kept your promise to always be there when I needed you and you never forgot me, or replaced me. The most important thing was, you didn’t want to go.

You always loved me for who I am and didn’t try to discourage me from the things I really desired. With almost everyone in my life gone, you recognized how badly I needed something to hang onto and something to love, so we went through an endless supply of mice, white rats, raccoons and eventually horses. One Sunday when you came to pick  me up, you let me bring my friend and you sat in the car for hours while we rode rented horses at a stable. After you bought me my own horse, you always bragged about my most recent show results to your friends.

We were partners. We went to Premier movies in Hollywood with a mouse in your pocket, we visited planetariums, museums, tar pits, fancy restaurants, Disneyland, SeaWorld and went school shopping and even took a mouse out to eat at Bob's Big Boy drive in.
You jumped through a million hoops and red tape to get permission to take foster kids, that you did not even know and would never see again, to Disneyland, because you said “Every child should go there at least once in their life and if we don’t take them, they never will”. You taught me compassion for others less fortunate and helped me to understand how very fortunate I myself, really was.

Your heart was for the innocent and you loved kids and animals. You were always delighted over the antics of children, new foals, goats or whatever my pet of the day was and marveled at the intelligence and loyalty of my dogs. You told me to never leave someone with harsh words between us because you may never see them again. Life is fragile and unpredicatable and you didn't want my heart burdened with regret.

As often as I disappointed you, you were always there, cheering me on, encouraging me. Sometimes I failed miserably. I could see the hurt in your eyes, but you told me you would never be ashamed of me. I would always have your approval because of who I am. 

When my first son was born, I used to write you letters as though from him and you made sure I knew you loved that. Everything I ever wrote after that, I have written with your audience in mind. You wanted me to write the book, but I couldn't get it finished. I am glad though, that I was able to send you many of the chapters and if I ever get it finished, it will be for you.

You were my conscience as a child, not because I feared you, but because I knew you loved me and I did not want to disappoint you. I know I disappointed you sometimes anyway, but your arms were still always open.

 You were the only person we knew who would drive a Lincoln Continental on the ranch like it was a truck. I don't know how many times we would pull in the driveway and hear the boys yell out "GRAMPA IS HERE!"
People always meant more than possessions with you, although things were always good for entertainment and you loved seeing people happy.

In all things you always had a sense of humor. You never left a room without making someone laugh or smile first. You taught us how to laugh, how to love, how to be faithful and the importance of good character. You ingrained deeply in me to always do what is 'right', even if it hurts. You always put others first and through the giving of your time and resources to anyone you saw in need, you modeled humility.

Your signature dishes were potato salad, cornmeal mush with polish sausage, and cream cheese garlic dip. I used to marvel at how you used your big chef’s knife to chop up the pickles. I still have it and I still make your potato salad, always thinking about you when I do. The garlic dip, I usually only eat if I want to be alone, because with that on my breath, I surely will be. I have always, always thought of you with a smile when I have any of these.

When I was in a nearly fatal accident, I woke up after days of unconsciousness to find you by my side. You had gone out and gotten a polaroid camera so you could take pictures of my horse, because you knew that she was dear to me and I would want to see her. The pictures and a snoopy dog were on my chest when I woke up. I don't know if I ever told you how much that meant to me. Indeed, my many trips to hospitals when I was young, you were almost sure to be there anytime I opened my eyes.

Gaining my independence at an early age, you allowed me my freedom but remained my safety net, knowing that whenever I got in too deep, I would come running back to you and when my life shattered, the part of me that insured my survival was the part that knew you were there for me.

Even now, a grandmother myself, you still make me feel special, that I am still your little girl. Always smiling, always happy to see me, always wanting to hear my latest accomplishments and exploits as well as those of my children and never leaving Randy out of the equation. You never left out family and for you, everyone you met was family.

I think the reason it was so easy for me to come to know and trust my Heavenly Father, is because of the kind of earthly father you were. You bore so many of His qualities and my sons carry on your legacy of love and fatherhood.

I already miss you terribly Daddy. I am glad you went peacefully to your new and forever home and I am sure the reunion there is joyful, as your life here on earth was. So for the very last time here, I will tell you “I love you”and

I can’t wait to see you again.

"But do not be ignorant, brethren concerning those who have died, lest you mourn like those who have no hope"
1 Thess. 4:13


  1. Dearest Kim,
    My heart breaks for you. I wish I was close enough to give you a big long hug. So I am sending it on my prayers. I know you have so many good memories and friends to help ease your sorrow. I wish I had know your Dad. He sounds like a really great guy. And now I can see where you got so many of your talents, humor and strength. Sending love and gentle hugs, CAROL DEE

    1. Thank you Carol Dee. It helps to pry my fingers off this world some, as I so look forward to seeing him again, well and happy.

  2. Oh, I'm so sorry! What a beautifully written post about a beautiful man. I can just feel the love pouring out through your words. Long distance hugs for you. Please be kind to yourself, it's never easy losing somebody so special that holds such a place in our hearts. I wish there was something I could say that would make it all a little better.

  3. I don't know that I have ever read a more loving tribute. I am so sorry for your loss, but I know that you gain comfort in knowing that you will be with him again. As with the others here, I send my love to you.

    1. Thank you Susan. There is nothing I can say to really paint a picture of who he was

  4. So very sorry for your loss. When I lost my Dad,through the grief would always come the overwhelming feeling of gratitude that God had blessed us with that wonderful, gentle , gracious and loving man. To this day, his influence and example make me want to be a better person. I believe your strong faith will help you through the hard times, and your memories of your Dad will comfort you. Such love is eternal. God bless you.

  5. What a beautiful tribute. So sorry for your loss.

  6. God bless you all. Thank you for your condolences. I cannot do him justice

  7. (((((HUGS)))))) <3 & Condolences on you & your family's loss.

  8. So sorry Petey. You will miss him greatly but the joy of spending eternity with him and our Heavenly Father will help ease the pain. What a blessing to have a wonderful father. So glad you got to see him on your trip to CA.

  9. What a wonderful and loving tribute to your father! {{HUGS}} to you and your family during this time of loss.

  10. Oh Kim, I am so so sorry. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Healing prayers for you ...

  11. I'm sorry for your loss. This is such a moving tribute; there is no doubt that your father was an amazing man. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of him with us.

  12. {{{Hugs}}} Your Dad sounds like the kind of man anyone would be proud to know. The kind of man boys should aspire to be.

    You've also reminded me I need to tell my Dad and Mum how much they mean to me while I still have time, thankyou.

  13. Thanks to all of you. He was so awesome. They are not with us long enough.

  14. What a wonderful dad you were blessed with Kim, and what a loving legacy he left.
    I like to think of those believers that were in my life that are now with their heavenly Father. It is something so powerful to think that those friends whom I talked to and looked in the eye, are right now looking at Jesus and praising Him!
    Thank God for His blessed hope!
    Thank you for sharing your dad with us, his example makes me want to be a better mom to my two grown sons.


    1. Thanks Kristi. Memories and character are the legacy we leave. I hope I did a fraction as well as he did

  15. This is such a beautiful tribute to your Dad. He sounds like he was one of the good ones. I had one like this too. We were so blessed to have father's that loved us.
    I send my love and prayers to you.

  16. Petey, clearly, your father was one of the very rare and special ones. So sorry for your temporary loss; knowing that someday, you will be greated with that familiar smile. Staci

  17. Petey, I am so sorry for your loss of this wonderful father. He sounds so like my own dad who I lost when he was 90 years young. He was always my rock and I always knew he loved me and would be my safety net. He was a great influence on so many, including my own grandchildren. I will always miss him but like you, I have the confidence that I will join him again when I cross that river. He, along with many others I love will be watching for me! (((((hugs))))))
    Ginny S.