The good Lord has given me special graces this week.
Ever since I found out that I was pregnant with my fourth child I have been worried about the day my dad would pass away. I'm sure I don't need to tell you (though I will anyway) that I have always been very close to my dad. To this day I consider myself to be daddy's little girl. I knew grieving my dad would be very hard on me, and it worried me to be pregnant at the same time. I feared that if I became too depressed those depressed feelings could be passed onto my baby.
My fears were unfounded.
This past week has been a busy one, planning the funeral, helping take care of arrangements, and writing the obituary as my mother requested. And yes, there have been times I would break down and cry. But for the most part I just felt peace. Peace that daddy's struggle was over and he could finally be himself again. Peace that when we would have family get-togethers dad could be there to join in again. Peace that when I speak to my dad I know he will hear me. And peace knowing that dad is reunited with the daughter he lost so long ago.
Maybe it is because this has been such a long road. Yes, I will miss my father terribly, but I have already been missing him for so many years. We have been grieving for quite a while. Even still, the very thought of loosing my dad used to flood me with tears. Now that it has actually happened I am just so happy for him. And my mom seems to be feeling the same thing.
Friday was the funeral. Just planning the funeral, picking the songs that dad loved, choosing readings that meant so much, caused me to cry. Probably more than I had cried yet. But in actually being at the funeral I felt joy. So many people came to celebrate dad and what a wonderful person he was. Pictures were sprayed throughout the church. A video collection of pictures showed just who dad was in life. I laughed when I saw how many photos we had of dad holding a baby. I think that sums up my dad perfectly. He was always taking care of people. Protecting the underdogs. Giving unconditional love. Living with a child's wonder and joy. Thinking about it, dad's connection to babies was perfect, and it is no wonder we had so many pictures of him in his glory.
It reminded me how much I will miss having him at the hospital when this baby is born. I will miss him repeating one of his favorite phrases as he would have taken my daughter in his arms and said in his most reverent, joyful, and gentle voice, "There is nothing like a newborn baby!" I shared this with my mom at the funeral as we were in the back of church and she smiled at me and said, "I just heard him say, 'I'll be there.' " And I have no doubt that he will be.
The sermon captured dad's personality so well that it may have been the only time I cried during mass. Dad's enthusiasm for God's creations was catching and I will never again be able to look at the way the afternoon sun hits the brick on a house and warms it to a glow without immediately thinking of dad. Dad was famous for pointing out beautiful things that the average person would walk right by. I am so proud to be passing that on to my children. Dad's appreciation for life and all it's beauty.
Yes. I will miss dad. More than I can say in words. But I am so filled with love of this man that it is hard to feel past my joy for him right now.
I thank you all so much for your kindness and your prayers. All the overwhelming love and support my family has been given is one of the things that does bring me to tears. This love is beautiful.
I'll leave you with the obituary that was shown in our city's newspaper. I think it sums up my dad's life (if that is even possible) as best as I could in the short amount of time that I had. I am deleting last names and cities and such and I'll just place a * in their spot. I hope that doesn't make it difficult to read.
Thank you all again. And God Bless. :)
John G. * III, 77, of *, died peacefully at * Nursing Home on Monday evening, June 29, 2009 after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s.
John was born November 14, 1931 in * to John and Clara *. He graduated from * North High School, Class of 1950 as school president. During high school, John lettered in track and football. He furthered his education at Mission House, where he starred in several positions with the only undefeated football team in school history.
John went on to play football for the Redwings semi-professional football team. He quickly became one of the Redwings’ star players and word of his talent traveled to Green Bay to the Packers organization. John discovered that the Packers wanted him to tryout for their team just as he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War.
John served his country in the U.S. Army, stationed at *. Following his service, he attended radio broadcasters school in New York, NY. He was employed at a radio station in Manitowoc for a time before he entered * Beauty School in *. It was there he met his wife to be.
On February 7, 1959, John was united in marriage to Gloria * of *. The couple were beauticians in * for a year before moving to * to make their home. John worked as a carpenter for his uncle’s contracting business before he became a lab technician at * Engineering Co. where he was employed for over thirty years until his retirement in 1993.
Mr. * was a faithful member of * Parish where he happily served with the maintenance crew and grounds keepers. He sang with the church choir for many years and will always be remembered for his annual solo of “O Holy Night” during Christmas Eve Mass. John was a member of Community Players and had many lead roles. His favorites included playing Charles Dalrymple in “Brigadoon” and “South Pacific” where he played Lt. Cable, and his wife played Liat. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus where he shared in grounds keeping duties.
John will be remembered by his wife as having the most grateful heart. He found beauty in everything around him. The way the sunlight filtered through the trees, a beautiful red barn in a field, the majesty of a sunset, or the glory of a fall day. He made life fun and exciting by taking such joy in God’s creations.
John was a true follower of Christ. Always taking care of those that could not take care of themselves. Always defending the underdog. He had a generous, kind, and compassionate nature and made each and every person that came in contact with him feel special. He was the charming life of the party and loved making people laugh.
John was an avid hunter, and enjoyed taking his German Shorthairs on hunting trips. He loved fishing and hiking and took much joy in showing his children and grandchildren all the beauty in nature. His children will always remember the family camping trips to St. Croix falls and many other state parks.
John not only had a gorgeous singing voice, and was a fabulous actor, but he was a great dancer too. John and his wife loved dancing together at weddings, parties, or even in the living room when the mood struck.
John and his wife were best friends and enjoyed spending all of their time together. They took many motorcycle trips across the states and along the Mississippi River stopping wherever something struck their fancy. They took daily walks through the woods with their dogs. They enjoyed attending mass together, singing together, taking long car rides, listening to music, and spending time with their children, grandchildren, and friends.
John will be remembered for many things, but the most important is love. John loved his God, and his family. His faith and love of God lead him throughout his life and made him an extraordinary example of God’s love for us. John loved and supported his wife and children through all of their endeavors and rejoiced in their happiness. All who knew John knew love.
In addition to his wife, Gloria, John is survived by five children, David (Debbie) *, Mike *, Jeff (Jenny) *, Anne *, Kathryn (Todd) * all of *; eleven grandchildren, Garrett, Kellie, Jake, Jason, Alyssa, Emily, Hannah, Lydia, Joseph, Thomas, Benjamin, and another grandchild due in August; 3 brothers, Clarence (Barbara), Eugene (Lois) and Carl (Marie); and other family members including a brother-in-law, Larry (Emma Jean) *.
Preceding John in death was his beloved daughter, Mary Joy, his parents, a brother, Jimmy; father and mother-in-law, August and Casey *.
The family would like to thank all the nurses and staff at Sunnyridge Nursing Home and all the nurses at Hospice for their loving support and care.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, 11:00 A.M. at * Church by Rev. *, the Pastor. A time of visitation and support will be held at the church on Friday from 9:00 A.M. until the time of service.
A memorial fund has been established in his name.