Have you ever had smelled a scent that takes you back to a precious memory? Mine is the smell of fresh cut hay. It takes me back to when my dad was alive and I would help him in the hay field. This blog is my Father’s Day tribute.
My dad was one of the best dad’s you could ask for. He was a laid back farmer who loved the land and his family. One of the most unique things about my dad is that he was 50 when I was born. He was way older than any of my friend’s dads but that never mattered to me. He was a wonderful dad who spent a lot of time with his tag-along daughter. My mom worked outside the home while my dad farmed so he had me with him a lot until I started school. My dad’s morals and life ambitions came from a time period that most other people didn’t understand. He had been alive during the Great Depression and so he never wasted anything. He may have come across as a bit of a hoarder but it really was just resourcefulness.
I spent all of my growing up year’s in one home. It was pretty awesome! I never knew what it felt like to switch schools or have to make new friends. I always knew I could come home to find my dad there. He never traveled anywhere overnight. We loved to drink coffee together. This started at a young age when he let me drink out of his coffee cup. He also let me stay up late and watch Johnny Carson with him. That never boded well for me getting up for school the next morning but I loved it! He was willing to let me experience life within boundaries. As long as I stayed within them he let me make my own decisions. I did pretty well until I turned 16 and decided to step outside of these boundaries. My dad never said much but I found that when I wanted to take off in my car he disabled it so I couldn’t get it started. I was never mechanically minded so I couldn’t figure out what he had done. That was his way of grounding me and helping me to make better life choices. It worked.
As I graduated high school I lived at home and worked. I had been dating my now husband from since our junior year. I found myself pregnant at 19 years old. I told my mom but asked her not to tell my dad. I was working up the courage I needed to tell him. I wasn’t afraid of my dad, I was just sad to let him down. When I finally told him he just said “I know’. It seems my mom wasn’t able to keep my secret. I was happy that he didn’t say anything unkind to me. He told me he liked Brent and he knew he would take care of me. My dad was right-on about that. I had actually found Brent to be a lot like my dad which is what attracted me too him I the first place.
Married life took me many places as Brent joined the Army and we moved around a good bit. We served ten years active duty and then Brent went full time into the National Guard. This brought us back to our home town as Brent could drive from there to where he was working downstate. I was thrilled to be back around my dad and for my three kids to be around him. He was everything I could ever ask for in a grandpa to my children. They loved him dearly and enjoyed being on the farm with him.
I was only home for around a month when my mom told me that Dad had lung cancer. This blew me out of the water. My sister and I were both stay-at-home moms, so we were able to take dad to his treatments while my mom had to work. These were not easy days as the radiation my dad received made him cough and gag up terrible amounts of phlegm. I remember people watching him getting ill in a trash can at a gas station. They had looks of disgust on their faces. I would get so angry and I would say “he just had radiation treatment”. There were good parts to his treatment though. On the drives to there and back I got to know my dad. He told me of his childhood and young adult years. It was a gift to me.
My dad eventually beat the cancer; but then he died of complications from it. I was with him in the end and my family told him that it was OK to let go. He did very peacefully slip away. I went into a sort of numbness for a while but when that ended I got angry. I was angry with God. I said “why did you bring me home to watch him die?” It took me a while to be able to hear His answer. He brought me home so I could spend his last year with him. God had given me a beautiful year to hear stories of his life and to feel the love that he had for me.
Every time I smell fresh cut hay I know that God is reminding me of my dad. It is a beautiful reminder of a girl who was so loved and cherished by a father, which my heavenly Father had lovingly provided me.
I miss him dearly, but I would never wish him back from heaven. I’m just longing for the day when we will be together there.