Some big shoes to follow in…

I wanted to get this written for my dad’s birthday… but couldn’t make it through it. So here is for a second chance.  I am so blessed to have my dad still in my life…  This list is by no means in any particular order…

My dad and mom had routine time out together, often by bowling, and would take one of us along with them.  The rest of us got to stay at Pap and Grandma Frazee’s

My dad taught me about work ethic – i.e. you never miss work!   He was a faithful employee who rarely missed even when juggling all the many roles in his life.  He worked more than one job often from his full time job as an electrician to picking up extra work as a milk truck driver, paper route, etc.  He took care of his family.

Family time was important and so was time together with your wife.  I remember many rides on the snowmobiles as a family.  I also remember the buggie we had that had a cart on the back where the boys rode and I rode up front.  We would go various places.  I also remember the annual camping trips with the church.  One of my favorite things would be the Sunday drives and we would leave and end up who knows where and sing songs in the car together.  He has an incredible voice (can be a little, actually a lot scary, if he yells – Lol)

Speaking of church – we rarely ever missed.  If there was too much snow we would all dress in our snowmobile clothes and still made it.  He served various leadership roles in the church and was also a Sunday School teacher.

He taught us great values about honesty… I will never forget the time that my brother and I “borrowed” money from our other brothers’ banks to buy these plastic tool boxes from Humberts store.  Well, I remember the look on his face today and the disappointment in his voice.  A lesson I will carry forever.

My dad didn’t just take care of my mom, but also her mother and father.  After Pap Frazee died he stepped up to help Grandma with coal, jobs around the house, transportation (and taking Grandma and Mom together was no easy job – lol).  He loved all of us unconditionally (but did expect us to follow the rules “as long as you are under his roof” LOL.  When my brother shared custody of the boys, they practically lived at dad and moms with us.  My dad would make runs with my brother to go get the boys from Florida with no questions asked.

When I gave up my nursing scholarship at LibertyUniversity to stay home to help take care of mom, I was blessed to get accepted into WVU and rode everyday to work with him.  Sometimes the rides were quiet, he has often been a man of little words, and other times we would talk. Although, he is usually quiet he has some great military stories.

He does have a little stubborn streak, which I have likely inherited.  I remember all the times I have been blessed to use my nursing skills to help take care of him.  It is just a small payback for all he has done for me.

He taught me the value of companionship.  After my mom passed away, we tried to surround him with us so he would not be lonely.  In fact one afternoon, the October after she passed, he spent the whole day helping me bake sugar cookies in the shape of ribbons (i.e. each cut, we didn’t have a cookie cutter) and helped put the pink icing in honor of Breast Cancer.  I used them for my job so we made hundreds.  But he needed someone more than us, and I am thankful that he has Karen to be with, travel with, etc…  He so deserves happiness if anyone on this earth does!

When they (Dad and Karen) talked about selling their house and mentioned moving to the south, my gut sank and I lost a lot of sleep.  I will ALWAYS support them in their decisions if it will truly make them happy, but do I NOT have to like them.  I want to be there for him (and for Karen) when they need me.  If they would move too far, that would make it quite difficult for me to get there.  I know I am not the best daughter and probably don’t go down often enough… I know I let the craziness of life and kids gets me distracted and not realizing how much time may have passed since I saw them.  But maybe I take it for granted they are just down the road!

So now is the really sobbing part… my dad taught me everything about marriage, commitment, and unconditional love.  He married my mom with already 2 small boys… he lived next to her parents and helped faithfully on the farm… My dad NEVER walked out when that would have been the easiest thing to do.  People who did not visit or take care of my mom have NO idea what my dad did for her.  From working fulltime and picking up extra jobs to help support the extra costs, to doing the laundry (including all the urine soaked towels), to lifting my mom in/out of bed, to cooking all the meals, to helping her get dressed, to eventually help feed her.  The conversation of her going to a nursing home never entered the picture.  He served her every hour that he wasn’t at work.  Not just for a short time but for YEARS.  He sacrificed his life, his hobbies (bowling together), their friends (because people stopped visiting and they couldn’t go there), etc… to be sure she was cared for.  We would still try to take Sunday drives and the brave man even took Grandma Frazee too.  He truly cared for both of them and helped Grandma to be able to keep living in her home as long as she did.   I helped when I could, but it was NOTHING compared to what he did for her, and I am a nurse and a daughter.  He rarely complained when he had every reason to.  He could have walked out, but he chose to stay.  He taught me that walking out is just not an option.  So if/when they (dad and Katen) need help, they can count on me because my dad has made so many deposits into my life and in caring for my mom that I will forever be in his debt!

I am sure there is more that will come to me after I post this blog… after all how do you contain the description of your hero to just one blog… My dad’s actions spoke louder than any words he could ever say.  And I know to this day, that if the world would all walk out on me…He would still be there.

Thank you… just isn’t enough…  All I know is I have some big shoes to follow if I ever live up to his… ( =


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