I wrote this the evening of August 31, 2004, as I sat next to my father's hospital bed. My wife came back early the next morning, and read this to him. I don't know if he heard it, or if he understood; he was very heavily medicated to alleviate pain. But a few minutes after Ann read this to him, he died.
I miss him every day.
Every time I try to tell you how much I love you, I get choked up and can't talk. So I'm writing this down; maybe Ann can read it to you.
You might believe you're not "successful". If so, you're wrong. You've made me wealthy; you've given me treasures beyond price...my memories of growing up with you.
I remember...you putting the pickup in super-low gear, then walking beside it across the pasture while I "drove".
I remember lying under the tractor next to you as we swapped one set of cultivator shovels for another.
I remember helping you set the forms so we could pour a concrete pad for a new corn crib.
I remember you carrying me to the car after church.
I remember you teaching me to fish, to hunt, to milk a cow...and your other teachings...to be honest, to be kind, to be responsible.
I remember that you always put my needs, and Mom's, ahead of what you wanted for yourself.
So many good memories. I never realized how good my childhood was, until I heard what things were like for some of my friends.
And those gems, each precious, are the lesser part. The greater part was (and is) the sure knowledge that you and Mom love me.
I love you, Dad.