For those of you who have followed Letters From Foxglove, you’ll remember my father’s passing. On this Memorial Day, I look back on that time when my father, a veteran of the Korean War, fought his last good fight.
(Daddy, I miss you so…)
March 6th 2010
Dear Gentle Readers & Friends, It’s been almost exactly one year since my last entry on this, one of my most loved pages on this endeavor called Foxglove Farm… As many of you know, I have spent the last three years caring for my father during his lengthy battle with his old enemies, illness, old age and infirmity. Daddy fought a gallant fight, but on Valentine’s Day, almost three weeks ago, he laid down his long carried burdens, and I was with him when he left this world, stepping onto that other side where I believe with all my heart, his Lord and Saviour Jesus waited to welcome him home.
I almost cannot believe he has left me, I lost two children to miscarriages and have never been able to have more, and he and my mother have been so very precious to me. His care I guess filled a place in my heart that had long been empty. I spent so many years away from home, and my dear family. I thank God that I had the privilege of spending so much time with daddy, getting to know again, the father who I never truly had the opportunity to become friends with… It is a long rather dark & sad story, but suffice to say, I found a father whom I never really knew, and I am unspeakably grateful for our last years together, and for the change that only God could have produced in my father.
I have included the eulogy that I gave at daddy’s funeral, it tells just a bit about a man who was entirely human, and in the end, entirely loved by so many. And finally, thankfully, understood by his oldest daughter…
Daddy’s baptism, what a joyful time.
Eulogy For My Father
My daddy found the Lord late in life, long after I had begun to give up hope that he would ever be saved. Oh, but God is indeed merciful and answered our prayers and daddy found the Lord and it changed him forever. We all “work out our own salvation” in many different ways, and though daddy still struggled (as we all do) with his besetting sins, he began to show fruit & evidence of his salvation that increased every year of his life.
Daddy truly loved people, especially the small unnoticed ones, he had a gift of bringing encouragement & laughter to the elderly, the ill & alone. He called it “Visiting My Invalids” and would make his daily rounds, always with his little black dog Lady at his side. Together, they would bring a donut or a cup of soup, maybe one of his beloved baloney sandwiches, to those he deemed in need of a meal or a good laugh. He was faithful in his rounds, visiting those forgotten ones, often daily & then come with stories of his visits & the struggles of thoses ones he cared for.
(“Little John” Upton, one of my father’s dearest little invalids)
I asked him one day about his prayers, what he prayed about, and I was surprised and humbled at his answer, of the daily prayers that he sent up for our mother, and for those he loved. One day when I stopped to check on him and bring him his supper, he had been in bed much of the day and he exclaimed, “You know, it seems like I pray all day long!” it brought me to tears, yes, God had made a big change in my daddy’s heart and life.
The world won’t much notice the passing of this dear old carpenter, so diminished by the years of illness and of struggle – but he leaves an aching void in many hearts. I am astonished at the pain I feel, though I wouldn’t wish him back to suffer here, his passing leaves such an empty place in my heart that I can never fill, we all will miss him so… His little dog Lady too grieves her beloved master, his constant companion was faithful till the end, her job of caring for him, like mine, has ended… I placed her collar with him, we dog lovers know what a comfort that would seem.
I had the privilege of being with daddy when he left this world, the last words he heard were of love & comfort, his last sight of one who loved him dearly… He left quietly, somehow a figure who had always been larger than life, was suddenly small and diminished – simply, unbelievably, not with me anymore…
OH, but we will meet again, how wonderful that we have the precious promise of God, “absent with the body, present with the Lord”! I will meet you again daddy, no longer frail & ill, no longer struggling with the weakness of this flesh, but more alive & joyous than this life ever saw you. Thank you Lord for the word & for your promises.
I told daddy in his last moments, that it was ok, to go with God, and I know that indeed Jesus was faithfully waiting to lead my beloved father safely Home….
“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted…”
The fondest desire of my heart is that through such an unlikely place as this, that someone would find that most precious of gifts, eternal life, through accepting Jesus Christ as their Saviour. My prayer is that many of you will be encouraged and uplifted by what is shared here & that perhaps someone will even find that changed life through calling upon Jesus who makes all things new, who brings light into the darkest times of our lives if we but let Him. I pray that you find this peace, this true life changing relationship, that you find real joy & the peace that only comes in Christ.
If you would like to ask Him into your heart to save you and take you to heaven when you die, you can pray a sincere prayer from your heart, much like the simple prayer my daddy prayed.
“Dear God, I know that I’m a sinner and and you sent your son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. Please forgive me of my sins and come into my heart and save me and take me to heaven when I die. Help me to live for you,, show me your will for my life.
Such a life-changing prayer when prayed from a sincere, repentant heart. If you have questions or have prayed this prayer, I’d love to know about it and to pray for you. I’m always available if you’d like to share please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org