Katie’s Tribute To Her Dad

This is the tribute that Katie wrote to her Dad. It was read at Greg’s Life Celebration service.

Sitting here, trying to decide what words to pen to commemorate my beloved dad, is one of the most daunting tasks I have ever faced. At some people’s funerals, it is a struggle to come up with enough nice things to say about them. But for me, it is exactly the opposite; I am overwhelmed by the amount of good words I want to speak that would still barely scratch the surface. My dad was a truly good man. Throughout my whole life, Dad was always there. No matter what I needed, I knew he would always come through. When I moved off to college and had to learn how to live on my own, Dad was there to walk me through every step of the way. I never hesitated to call him if I had a question about my car, I got lost, something in my apartment was broken, I needed advice about something; anything I needed, Dad was there. He’s always been there. At every recital, birthday party, prom, vacation; you name it, Dad was there.
Laughter was a big part of my dad’s life, and in turn, is a big part of mine as well. Dad brought the laughter into our home. Never did I spend time with Dad where we both didn’t end up laughing about something. He had an endless supply of jokes and could make anything funny with that dry sense of humor he had. One of his favorite things was to pull pranks on people. I remember one day when I was probably about 12 or 13. Dad called me into the living room and he looked so serious, yet excited. He told me, “Katie, I have something really special for you. I spent a lot of time looking for the exact right thing and I’m so excited to give this to you!” He sat me down in front of the fireplace, had Mom get the video camera out, and called Emilie and Jacob in there. He pulled out a small jewelry box and talked about how what was inside was so special and sentimental and just went on and on about how much it was going to mean to me. By this point, I was ridiculously excited and could not wait to see what was inside. Finally, Dad handed it over. I cracked open the box and peered inside. Within a split second, I screamed and threw it across the room as fast as I could! Instead of a beautiful necklace or bracelet, as I had expected, inside lay a huge, blue, dead beetle. Dad thought it was just the funniest thing ever and he kept that beetle to play tricks on even more people.
One of the best words I can use to describe Dad is authentic. He was the same wherever he was. Home, work, church, hospital; it didn’t matter. Dad was Dad. It has been incredible to talk to people who knew Dad from various places all saying the same things about him. He never pretended, never tried to impress, never tried to be someone he wasn’t. He was simply him, and people loved him.
Dad loved and led our family with both strength and grace. He was our rock. Whenever anything was broken, no matter what it was, we knew Dad would fix it. He went to work, cut the grass, washed the cars, changed the oil, paid the bills; anything and everything to take care of us. He was a servant-leader in every regard, always putting others ahead of himself. For the longest time, before we had any idea that Dad was sick, he always said that if he ever got cancer, there was no way he was doing chemo. He never wanted to be a patient, at the hospital all the time, hooked up to tubes and IV’s. But when we got the news, he tried every treatment option there was. He was a fighter. He fought bravely and courageously, not for himself, but for us. He did anything and everything, always for us. The last time I got to see my dad before he was in the hospital was two weeks ago when I was going back to school after fall break. He was so sick, he couldn’t even get up off the couch to hug or kiss me goodbye, I had to lean down to him. As I was headed out, he asked me, “Katie, when’s the last time you checked the oil in your car?” He was always on me about doing that and I was always so bad about forgetting. When I told him it had been a while, he gave me “the look” and told me I needed to stay on top of that. I volunteered to go do it right then and tell him the results, but he said he’d come do it. I tried to tell him that I was fine, that I’d do it, but he insisted. Barely able to get up and walk, he came out with me and checked my oil. He wanted to make sure his girl was safe on the way back to school.
My dad loved the Lord so very much. I remember many mornings when I was in high school, getting up early to get ready for work, coming downstairs, and seeing Dad drinking coffee and reading his Bible. His whole life centered around the gospel. He didn’t preach at everyone, but lived in such a way that anyone who knew him had no doubt that he loved Jesus. I am forever grateful for the way he modeled Jesus to me. He was my example of godliness, holiness, faithfulness, devotion, honor, courage, and love. He showed me what a godly man looks like, he set a high standard. The hurt in my heart is deep and I will miss my dad more than words can describe. But I am so grateful that even though Dad is gone, what he instilled in me, the gospel, will never fade or change. In the midst of the pain, I choose to echo what Dad always told me when he was sick: “If I can trust God with my eternal salvation, how can I not trust Him with this?” Does that take away the pain and make everything better? Absolutely not. There are deep wounds in my heart that will be slow in healing and will always leave scars. But thanks be to God, redemption is coming. Jesus will come back, he will redeem all things and set them right, and life will be as it is meant to be. No more hurt or tears, no more cancer. I know that I will see my dad again. But until that day, I’ll miss you Dad. I’ll hurt and I’ll cry and I’ll want you here with me more than words can say, but I’ll cling to Jesus. Thank you for the way you loved me. I never had to wonder if you loved me or were proud of me, you always told me. Thank you for leading our family well and for being Jesus to us. Thank you for fighting for us. You were the best dad I could have ever asked for. I love you, Dad, always and forever.

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheri Smith
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 17:56:11

    Katie, Emilie, and Jacob,
    We have never met but I want to thank you for opening yourselves up and sharing memories of your dad. My husband and I met your parents on one of my trips to MDA about a year ago. Even though he was sick, he seemed so at peace and had such a strength about him. We committed to pray for one another and I have been following your mom’s blog ever since. Your whole family has been such an inspiration to my family as we have walked through the cancer battle. We were very saddened by the news of your dad’s passing but thankful that he is no longer sick and in pain. I can tell from reading your tributes that he left a beautiful legacy in the three of you. I can also tell that you have the same strength and faith in God that he did. I am sure the coming days will not be easy but I hope that you feel the prayers that myself and many others are praying on your behalf.
    Isaiah 41:10-“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”

    In Christ’s love,
    Cheri and Cecil Smith

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  2. gdireneoe
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 01:53:47

    Katie,
    I am overwhelmed by your eloquence and transparency. I’m sure you know but, it also helps to hear; your parents are an example and a light to so many (ME!). Your dad left a legacy that will carry through and beyond to other generations, and to other families. Lead by example. And he did. And you are. As your brother said, “Well done.”.

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  3. Claudia Voigt
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 10:54:43

    Katie, You are wise beyond your years. You are a precious young woman, that had a precious father in her life. The days ahead will be hard for all of you, but you are right in that with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will be reunited again! (Oh how I cling to that too as my beloved husband is battling melanoma too.) You’re exactly right in that your parents were a blessing wherever they went. I was SO afraid the first time we left Oklahoma and headed to MDA/Houston (where we didn’t have any family or support). I prayed that God would show Himself to us and He did – by allowing me to meet your dad and mom! May God’s peace overwhelm you in the days ahead. Prayers from us in Oklahoma.

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  4. kddmyers
    Nov 11, 2013 @ 17:01:27

    Katie, thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to your dad. I know that you all will treasure your many sweet and fun memories of him. He has provided your family the wonderful gift of a godly heritage, and that is the best thing he could have ever given. I pray that you will continue to cling to Jesus and the hope and peace that He gives.

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