<I asked my Mom if I could speak a tribute for my Dad at his funeral, which was yesterday. She said Yes. Here is the first part of what I said.>

My Goal here is to describe how the life of my Dad was a gift to my family. The extent of this gift was significant. But please indulge me as I go back a couple years before he came into our life. And bear with me as I tell you many things that many of you already know.

My first Dad was a very good Dad and provided for us and loved my mom and my brother and sister. So when we found out in the fall of 1977 that he had cancer, it was a scary time for a wife and three young kids. And we experienced sadness and uncertainty for 16 months as he went through the ups and downs as he won and (more often) lost battles with the leukemia that was attacking his body.

(Let me just stop here and publicly express my thanks and appreciation to this Church for the love and support that many, many people gave us during this time. Much was done for us, but what I remember most was the meals. The food was very good and we enjoyed it, but I think more important to us as a family was the idea that we were not standing alone as a grieving family. We had many people who loved us and were standing with us. God significantly blessed our family through you. Just like we are being blessed by you here again these days)

But, as you know, on June first 1979, my first Dad died. And we were very sad, but happily a fifth grade mind recovers from this kind of sadness fairly quickly and even later that summer I remember thinking, with some relief, that I had gotten past the grief and with fifth grade thinking I thought looking forward into my life that no matter what sadnesses were in my future, at least I wouldn’t have to suffer through my dad dieing again.

But even my fifth grade mind was aware that though I had gotten past a significant part of my grief, this was not as true with my mom.  She was lonely. So, about a year later, when she told us that she was meeting with (some might have called it ‘dating’) a new man, this felt good and right.

And when we met this man, whose name was Bob, it was a gift from God that we were immediately comfortable with him. I remember that he knew how to make us laugh and that my mom liked him and that everyone else seemed to like him.

When mom asked my brother what he thought about her with another man, he said that he better know about camping and he did! And of course it was a prerequisite that he be a Christian and he was – a strong Christian quite involved at our church. And as a bonus – he had a cabin!

And soon we were having a meeting with our Pastor and just us three kids where he asked us what we thought about my mom marrying this man and I remember saying that this was a good idea and fine with us.

And soon they were planning the wedding and soon after that the sanctuary and fellowship hall where we had mourned the loss of my original dad became the sanctuary and fellowship hall that we were celebrating a new marriage. And for me it felt very, very good and gave me joy. But my seventh grade mind realized that this meant that most likely at some point in the future I would have to experience the loss of a beloved dad again. I am paying that price today. But it is a price gladly spent and well worth it.

<Part 2 (of 2) comes next week and in it I share why it was worth it.>


Update: You can read part 2 here