Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stopping to Say, "You're Good."

This post may appear to be depressing at first. But please read on, for I really intend it to be inspiring.

Almost three weeks ago, my father died and we "celebrated" his life at his funeral a week later. All three of his children and all seven grandchildren rejoined with my mom to pay our respects to my dad. Cousins arrived who had traveled from other states, along with friends of my father's who I'd never met before. An old army buddy of my dad's showed up unexpectedly. And like most funerals, we wept, we talked, we hugged, and we even laughed at times when recounting funny stories during our special times with Dad in the past.

But most importantly, we stopped - literally stopped - in the midst of our daily routines to remember my dad.

There was even a slide show that displayed pictures of him from the time he was a little boy up until about four months before his death. The last picture ever taken of my dad was one of him signing my daughter's cast after she'd broken her arm. With a weak outstretched hand, he gingerly wrote, "Love you, Grandpa." To me, that picture spoke these words, "This is a good grandfather."

But one of the last conversations I had with my dad was while he was in the hospital. I was assisting him to eat. Actually, I was feeding him, an act which I am sure he never thought he'd need help doing. As I raised the spoon to his lips, I leaned over to him and said quietly, "You know that you're a good dad, don't you?" He closed his eyes, leaned his head back and whispered, "No."

My heart sank, and I'd forced myself to fight back the tears. To think that my dad felt somehow inferior, or that he'd somehow failed us as a father was too much to bear.

I again repeated what I'd said, this time with more force and determination. I was not going to let him die without him knowing that he was a GOOD dad. No one is perfect, but he was good. Very good.

My point is this: Dad may not have believed it. Because he was a humble man, he would never have admitted that he was a good dad, even in his healthy and vibrant days. But at least he heard it, and maybe they were some of the last words he heard before he slipped away.

I learned a very important lesson. I make an effort to tell those I love how good they are. "You're a good daughter, Melissa. You're a good husband. You're a good son."

There are some days when they might not believe it, but at least they've heard it. They've heard it from me.

Stop for a second, and tell those you love that they matter and that they are good people. They need to hear it; trust me, they really do.


Debby said...

Oh, Karen. This was a beautiful post. Beautiful. And you are right. Perfectly, absolutely right. Did you know that you're a good writer?

PFunky said...

Karen, I could not agree more! Just yesterday I called a good friend to tell her how wonderful I thought she was. I had no ulterior motive for my compliment, I just wanted to let her know how I felt about her!

I am sorry to hear of your loss of your father. I am glad to see that you are finding a good lesson to teach others.

I look forward to looking back and reading some of your other postings and look forward to following your blog!

Anonymous said...

This was such a touching post, Karen. What a blessing for you and your dad that you got to share these words with him and what a important reminder to us that we must not take saying the things that need to be said for granted. Thanks for sharing. We'll keep praying for your family. Love from TN,