Today, I'm feeling a gratitude for the gift I received with the father I had. I still feel grief in the loss of him. But more and more, I realize how much he contributed to how I live my life and to who I've become.
He was patient. In all my memories, I never once felt he was rushing to go somewhere or do something or that anything was more important to him than talking with me, teaching me something, or - if need be, to help in some way.
He was wise. He had this incredible common sense approach to all things he did. He always looked at the most basic components and started at the beginning of the process - a very systematic approach. I still use these techniques.
He was respectful and supportive. When he spoke to us, he talked TO us, not AT us. He treated us as equals - and never belittled or criticized in any way. He reasoned with us when difficult issues came up. I always felt that he gave me free reign - and knew that if I made a mistake, that I would learn from it. He was there, but not hovering. If I needed help along the way, he was always there.
He had character and dignity. He didn't lie, cheat or steal. He was reliable. He was happy to earn his way and appreciated what he had. He had the respect of anyone who knew him. He was the kind of man whose word was good - no need for protective language in elaborate contracts required for any agreement he was involved with.
He was resourceful. Much of his life, he was an independent contractor - multi-talented and with a high work ethic, he was seldom idle. No one owned him, but everyone who hired his services received his total commitment and quality results.
He was kind and generous. I don't remember ever asking for something and not receiving it - and I know that at times, it was difficult for him to provide the extras. With others, he was always willing to share and show compassion to those less fortunate.
He was a spiritual man. He didn't talk about religion or preach about God, but I knew he was a man of God, by the way he lived and treated others. He was especially conscious of nature and animals. He was actually a "Horse Whisperer." He was very good with horses - he worked with them so that they trusted and respected him. He never resorted to violence in anything.
When he died, it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me - it still is. Even tho' I'm now a grandmother and have grown spiritually to understand the cycles of life and death much more, I still feel this huge loss.
My sister wrote a simple and beautiful tribute to him - the beginnings of her unfolding writing gift. Here it is:
We'll always remember the years gone by,
as we look ahead to our years without you.
Our grief is made easier to bear because
of our fond memories of you - your
strength, your wisdom, your love,
patience and perseverance when the going got rough.
You have contributed so much to the shaping of
our lives - that we retain much of you in everything we do.
You never were one for flowery speeches, but we felt
your unspoken love and encouragement along the way.
We're very proud to have known you as our friend
and father - and are better people because of you,
During the last few years, he had become a very well known saddlemaker and had just finished the last two saddles (trophy saddles for the High School Rodeo Association) and we placed one of these near his casket at his funeral. On the saddle were three yellow roses for his daughters and one red rose for our mother. A three piece western band sang and played hymns and our family favorite "You Are My Sunshine."
Thank you for allowing me to express this. I am still healing and this has helped.
Joy Rae Freeman
You can send email to Joy Rae at: Joy21st@worldnet.att.net
anniversary date 02-20-81
date of post 12-25-98