Monday, November 21, 2011

What I Will Always Hold Close: A Tribute to a Belated Loved One

I thought I'd have more time.

More time to bond and get to know you, and learn about your long history.

More time to laugh and have fun.

More time to make the family grow, so you could see the legacy you've created.

But time doesn't stand still and I can't go back.

But I can hold and treasure the memories. I can spread those precious treasures to the future generations, so they know the lives that helped define their family.

I only knew you for seven years, and always assumed I'd have many more. During this time, I did get to know the wonderful man you were and you always will be remembered as. You were a faithful husband and a hard working father. You demonstrated your love to your family by selflessly providing for them, and using your skills to meet many of their needs. You maintained the home by working with your skilled hands, which you quietly did with no expectation of acknowledgement. But your love went beyond just providing for your family, as you always had a deep desire to help the disadvantaged and poor. Instead of using your retirement to just relax, you dedicated time to those that needed your love and help.

We are two very different men, but you've left behind blueprints that I know I must follow. I want to be a loyal husband and a hardworking father that is always able to provide for my family. I will end up doing it in a very different way. I am not one who will be remembered for being good with my hands, unless those hands are furiously typing on a keyboard. My attempts to do ‘handy work’ around the house may turn the place into a hill of rubble. But our desires to provide for our family both came from the same place, the heart. Though my ways will be different, I know both our innate need to support our beloved families are strong and unbreakable. While I raise and love my family, I want to continue to pass on your love for the disadvantaged and poor – allow my love for my family to outstretch to so many more.

You were a quiet man. You allowed your actions to be your words. But when you mentioned your work at the church 'food pantry' or your plans to help the disadvantaged, I felt your passion and I heard you speak more than ever. It was a huge piece of you.

It is a piece that I plan to become part of your legacy. I will continue your passion. I will pass it on to your grandchildren. Our family will take your love and desires, and continue to make them into realities.

As for your future grandchild, my child, it hurts that you'll never be able to meet each other. But my child will know his/her grandpa. My child will learn about you from various people that loved you very much. The stories and memories will become the most cherished of treasures.

Of all things that helped define you, I will first tell my child you were a man who laughed and smiled. You worked hard and you sacrificed and you suffered hardships, but despite it all, you always remembered to laugh and smile.

As much as it hurts that you are gone and my child will never meet you, I hold on to that image of your award winning smile and your room warming laughter. It reminds me that even though more tears will be shed, you're best remembered through smile and laughter. I hope to pass on stories that will make my child smile and laugh.

At your memorial service, I shared how important the memories of your laughter and smile are to me. It is a constant reminder how much greater life can be if you remember to laugh and smile. It is something I want my child to be able to hold on to, and it is something I want to remember even during the hardships. But on that day I did not mention the most important thing you've left for me.

Your daughter.

The love of my life.

The person who eternally owns a piece of my heart.

My child's mother.

My wife.

She is the greatest reminder for me of your legacy. She is the great connection between you and me. She will be my daily reminder of who you were and why you'll always be a key part of my life.

You raised, loved and provided for her over several years. You had a major part in shaping and defining the woman she has become. You passed on some of your traits and maybe even left behind a few quirks. A piece of you will always be ingrained in her. In order for there to be her, there had to be you. Everything about her from her talents and personality and desires and beliefs were shaped and formed in some way because you were her father. You were the man that loved and protected and raised her.

I love my wife. Truly and deeply. I have a strong love and powerful connection with her that I'll never have for anyone else. So, I thank you for your part in shaping and raising the person that is most important to me.

I promise to protect, love and respect her for my entire life. I will always cherish and honour the greatest treasure you ever blessed me with.

You left a legacy of loving and providing for your family.

You now have a growing family. An expanding empire of grandchildren.

I now promise to take up your legacy. I will do my part to love and work hard to provide for your daughter and grandchild (and your possible future grandchildren).

I won't be able to do it exactly like you did. I don't do a good job of allowing my actions do the talking, because my mouth usually doesn't stop moving long enough for that to happen. I'll probably not wield too many wrenches and hammers in my life time. Our careers probably couldn't be more different. But I will work hard to protect, provide and love my family -- and ensure your legacy continues to grow.

I wish we had more time to get to know each other. I wish you were able to hold my child. I wish you could be here.

I do have fond memories. I do know the best way to honour you. My family will be loved. As a family, we will continue your desire to care for the disadvantaged. I won't forget the importance of living a life with smiles and laughter.

Thank you for the memories.

Thank you for the legacy.

Thank you for my beautiful wife.

I love you, and will always hold you close.

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:01 pm

    Beautifully written hon. Thank you.

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  2. Anonymous9:58 am

    Krisztina Klail via Facebook:

    That was really incredible, Chris.

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  3. Anonymous10:20 am

    Diane Ellis via Facebook:

    That was fantastic Chris.

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  4. Anonymous1:14 pm

    Elaine Wong via Facebook:

    likes this.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous3:36 pm

    Rachel Martin via Facebook:

    likes this.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous7:15 pm

    ScottandAngela Bayley via Facebook:

    Beautifully written...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous2:25 am

    Chris, thank you for such a beautiful tribute to my husband. It truly touched my heart and my tears just streamed uncontrollably as I read it. This extremely difficult journey has taught me that we need to treasure each other and each day greatly as we never know what the future holds. Expression of love and engaging in genuine loving relationships are the most important things in life.

    Love you and the whole family lots. Can't wait to see my second grandchild and may God be praised!

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  8. You're very welcome. I'm glad I was able to use my talent to honour a man that I loved and respected. We're pretty excited to see your second grandchild too!

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