He is 85 years old and he is dying. We were first told he would still be with us at Christmas, then we were told Thanksgiving, this morning we were told he only has a few days at the most. Maybe even just a few hours. It is in God's hands.
He has been my hero even before I was old enough to know what a hero was.
He was a farmer for most of his life and he was an adventurer.
At 9 years old he helped his dad tear down an old church building and used the lumber to build the house on the farm; they finished the building and out buildings and moved to the new house in just three years. The house that he still lives in 71 years later... the home I grew up in. When he was 16 years old he went to Poland with a load of horses right after WWII. He was called a Seagoing Cowboy. This was part of a humanitarian group that eventually became known as Heifer International.
He went to Korea for thirteen months when he was in the Marines and was sent there right after the Chosin Reservoir. That was the second bloodiest battle in the Korean War. He met my mom while at Camp Pendleton, they married and upon discharge moved to Iowa to farm with my grandpa. Their were four daughters in the family. No boys to carry on the family name and to join him in farming. That always made me sad for him, but what a wonderful childhood I had! I knew I was loved, and that is the most important thing. Because of his love for me I had no difficulty believing in a loving Heavenly Father.
We took family vacations most every year. He enjoyed traveling and instilled in me a love of adventure also. He and Mama were able to travel to Europe (to visit his sister and family in the military), and free trips to Hawaii and a cruise to the Bahamas for being such a successful seed corn dealer after he retired from farming.
On a visit to our home in 1999, Daddy said if we wanted he would help us put on an addition with a room on the first floor for Amy. We took him up on the offer in 2001 and he and my mom brought out their fifth wheel trailer and lived with us for the summer. Amy was 18 and her Granddaddy turned 71 that summer while they were there.
He was a wonderful Granddaddy to Amy. Granddaddy is what I called my mother's father when I was growing up. So it just made sense that my children would call their mother's father Granddaddy. Amy loved her granddaddy. He had a special bond with her. He always accepted her just as she was and loved her.
Her Granddaddy will be the first family member she gets to welcome to heaven. He will be able to hear her speak and sing and I imagine they will run some races together, free from the trappings of this earthly body. I must admit that I am jealous.
God gave us a blessing when He allowed us to have time with Amy before she died. Now God has granted us another special gift in allowing us to tell our father goodbye. I came two weeks ago and spent time with him in the hospital. Yesterday my son James and his wife Laura and little Will came. Another blessing to be able to hold my grandson!
Daddy has cancer in his pancreas, colon, and stomach. He has beaten prostate cancer and lymphoma. This past surgery was the 28th surgery he has had in his life. He is ready to go to live with Jesus. We have been praying that the Lord will take him quickly and not let him suffer. But I was not ready for it. I wanted more than just a few days. I will treasure the moments I have left, just as I did with Amy. Today I was able to sing the hymn, "Our Great Savior" to him. How precious the words of the third verse,
"Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows o'er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul."
Update today, Monday, Nov. 16th. Daddy passed away today while I was holding his hand.