Another chapter of my life has come to a close. Today we laid my hero to rest. I already miss him greatly and know I will miss him more in the coming days. But I also rejoice in knowing he finished his race and is receiving his reward. Even though he grew weary and tired at the end, he was victorious! He left a legacy…..a spiritual legacy, a legacy of love, a legacy of wisdom and a legacy of humor. For those of you that think I have an “off the wall” sense of humor, you can thank my dad when you see him.
I wrote the above on my Facebook page September 4, 2013, the day we buried my dad. Dad passed away September 1st but we lost him a long time before that day. You see dad had Alzheimer’s Disease, which took away the man I loved who was my hero but it left him here too. Alzheimer’s is as the saying goes, “the long goodbye.”
I along with my brothers and sisters had the privilege of taking care of dad during the last few months of his life. And I watched how this horrible disease slowly took away the life of the greatest man I have ever known. Watching him slowly deteriorate into a shell of a man, I had a lot of time to reflect over the 45 years I was privileged and honored to be his son.
Looking back over time there are several things that come to mind. As a little boy I remember being in awe of my dad (and honestly a little scared at times).
What is my fondest memory of dad?
Is it the Christmas that he gave me a belt buckle he made with my initial on it?
Is it the time that I was sick and he let me sit with him in his recliner when mom brought me an ice cream soda in a small glass and he called it a “mini-soda?” Dad always loved to play on words.
I remember when I had my first date and I scraped the side of the family car on a concrete pillar in a parking garage. I was scared that dad would be mad and I would be in trouble. But instead of that he just put his arm around me and asked if I got a kiss. Is that the best memory?
Is it how he would stand in church quietly worshipping God as his voice cracked and tears ran down his cheeks?
Is it any of the times he told me that God is God and has everything under control and sometimes you just have to be still and listen?
So what is my fondest memory of dad? All of them.
What will I miss most about dad?
Will it be the love he had for his family? Or the love he had for everybody?
Will it be the strong and determined love he had for Jesus, his Savior?
Will it be the way he would say, “hey peachy” when I walked in the room or called him on the phone?
Will it be his sense of humor? Dad loved telling corny jokes….sometimes telling the same joke over many times. This led to people calling any corny joke, “A Bob Carden joke.”
So what will I miss most about my dad? Everything.
One of the traits about dad I loved and will always be proud of is his love for God and how he worshipped his Savior. Even as he was laying on his death bed he was worshipping God. We played southern gospel music (his favorite) to try to keep him calm. As he laid there, no matter how much pain he was in, he would raise his hands in worship and a tear would roll down his cheek as it usually did when he worshipped.
He was still physically with us but I believe he was also seeing Heaven, Jesus, Mom, my brother Mark and many other family members and friends that had already made their way to Heaven.
As the time came for him to go home to his Heavenly Father, and be reunited with his bride, he did so quietly….in his time just as he did everything else in life.
Dad’s favorite verse was Isaiah 40:31 which says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
And I know that’s exactly what my dad did.
I love you pop!
~ Number 4 son