By Keith Fisher
I know I promised to write about bread today, but I’m going to flake out. You see we buried my father a week ago and you could say It’s time to fall apart I’m not given to displays of grief and I’m very happy for my dad. Just being able to see again made him, (I’m sure) dance with joy and I never saw him dance.
Anyway, my fall apart stems from a hard couple of months and I need to take the day off. So, I’m going to do the bread thing next week. Oh and one more thing: I’m not telling you this because I’m looking for sympathy so don’t feel you need to say anything. Although, I am very grateful for all the support and condolence I have received.
I’m going to post the talk I gave at Dad’s funeral. Do you remember the blog I wrote called Finding Dad for Christmas? I read that to him right after it went into the YourLDSNieghborhood Newsletter and he was touched. I hope he was equally touched when he heard this at the funeral.
After the operation that determined the stomach cancer was inoperable, I went to visit dad in the hospital. When I walked in, he was listening to a nurse telling him that he had to wear those things on his legs that improve circulation in a hospital bed.
Dad didn’t like it and told them his wife believed they gave her blood clots. The nurse told him that wasn’t possible and she had to put them on or she would get in trouble.
After they were attached, Dad said, "I return to what I said before."
"What is that, sir?" she asked.
Dad said, "If I’m dying, what does it matter?"
That’s how dad dealt with the cancer that ended his life. He patiently bore all the infirmities that came his way. It will be 23 years this Christmas since Dad stepped on a piece of grating at the moment it was knocked loose, and Dad fell approximately 90 feetto the floor below, hitting various things on the way down.
At that time, all of his loved ones used their faith and prayers to keep him here. Personally I wasn’t ready to let him go. I needed him.
Since then, he faced everything that came along. When his left ventricle blew out, he survived a very unusual operation. He had rotator cup surgery, Thyroid cancer, and other things. The one thing, however, that hit him the hardest was his macular degeneration. His vision slowly grew worse until he couldn’t see well enough to weld.
Dad had always loved to work and to weld. He called me one day, to come and weld something for him, and I knew it was bad because he asked me to weld. It was a big blow to him when he couldn’t see to tie his own fishing line, but dad bore it all patiently.
I once asked him if he knew he was here because we had prayed to keep him here and he said he knew and he was touched that we would love him so much to want to keep him around.
23 years ago, I recognized the need to be closer to my dad. I decided to make it count. We went camping and dragged mom and dad along to cook offs we told them we needed a baby sitter along, but we always traveled in two separate cars and I enjoyed the long talks I had with dad.
During those talks he would often talked about my brothers and other family members. He wanted the best for all his sons and as I said he was pleased.
During the twenty-three years I spoke of, Dad and I evolved. You see, when I was young, Dad and I had an adversarial relationship. Perhaps the word is too extreme but I was a wayward son, and he was doing his best to keep from cracking my skull.
Sometime after high school, he discovered a better way of dealing with me. It brought us closer and we became best friends. His loving the sinner, not the sin approach made me realize I could be a part of his family even with all my problems.For many years we had long "bull sessions". We talked about hunting, fishing, and cars. When I came back to church, we added religion. After
I got married, we added gardening and greenhouse techniques.
And Always, if I had a project to do, or car to fix, he’d be there getting me out of bed to get started on it. I can’t begin to estimate how much it would have set me back in wages had I paid him what he deserved.
When he had his heart attack, we’d been cutting down hardwood trees at my grandmother’s house. He couldn’t let the firewood go to waste, and we had a limited time to gather the wood before the road crew came in and demolished the land. From his hospital bed, he told me he was sorry, but he wouldn’t be able to finish the job.
Many times, we discussed my problems, while riding around the mountains on the deer hunt. He often stopped and showed me a spot where this or that happened when he was young. I was grateful to see my dad in that light.
The last time Dad carried a rifle on the hunt, he asked me to walk with him. Like an idiot I had forgotten to bring my license, and couldn’t carry a rifle. So naturally, he asked me to carry his. That was when he admitted to me that he wouldn’t be able to tell if the deer we saw were bucks or does.
As we are fond of saying in the church, the Lord closes a door but opens another. Dad subscribed to a service that gave him a player and sent him books on tape. He’d listen to them and send them back for more. I think he read more books that way, than I will ever read. About that time I got serious about my writing career. When I came home from writer’s conferences, I’d tell him about the new author friends I’d met, and he’d order their books.We started talking about literature, and my own writing. We critiqued other writer’s books together. I am so grateful I had that opportunity. He lost his sight and I started writing. We had something else to talk about.
It has been a wonderful twenty-three years, and now its time for him to go. But he left us stronger, better people than we were before.
Thanks for your patience.
I had a great dad and I’m sure that most of you can say the same. I’ll be back next week.
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