Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Tribute To My Daddy

In Loving Memory of my Daddy,
George Franklin Cook
September 26, 1923-December 19, 2004

Dear Daddy,

Some days it seems like you've only been gone a little while, and others it seems like you've been gone for much longer than the almost 2 years it's been since God called you home to Heaven. Some things are much the same as when you left, and many things have changed beyond what either of us could have imagined. I'll bet you were impatiently waiting for Mama to join you, which she did on April 13, 2005.

I want to thank you, Daddy, for the raising that you gave me and the rest of the girls. I know you drank when they were growing up and when Cecil and I were young, but when you laid it down it was for good. Our happiest times together as a family were after you quit drinking. Thank you for loving Mama and us more than the alcohol. I know it was hard to give it up.

Thank you for going into that hell-hole of a factory every day for over 40 years, putting food on our table and clothes on our backs. Thank you for doing without things you needed so we could have things we wanted. The child didn't understand what you sacrificed at the time, but the adult Mama understands now. Thank you for working when you didn't feel like it because missing a day of work meant doing without something we needed.

Thank you for letting me be a tomboy. The days I spent fishing with you, working on cars, cutting wood, hunting, taking care of the hogs and calves, just driving around and piddling....I wouldn't take a million dollars for those times and those memories. Thank you for showing me that hard work didn't hurt me, and in fact made me stronger. It's made me a better person, I think.

You were too rough on me sometimes, and you knew it. I think you regretted that a little as we both grew older. We were both hard headed and stubborn as a mule, and we clashed sometimes. I remember you apologizing to me one time in my life, and that was after I'd been married for 4 years. You knew you were wrong, and it took you from Mother's Day of that year to Thanksgiving to come to me and apologize. It was so hard for you to admit you were wrong. About the only emotion you showed freely was anger. I was an adult before I understood that you were raised not to show your emotions. It was considered unmanly, I guess. I can only remember you telling me you loved me one time in my life, and that was when you knew you were dying. Any time one of us girls would say, "Daddy, I love you," you'd just say, "Yep, " or something to that effect. It was just too hard for you to say the words, although I knew you loved me.

When Ducky's husband, Jerry, died in 1998 it hurt you so much. He was like a son to you. You and Jerry and Sue's husband, Charles were always hunting, fishing and working on cars together, among other things. Seeing Jerry slipping away a little more every day was almost more than you could bear. It was so hard on all of us, and I know you were never the same after.

You had a special relationship with all of us. All of us have our memories. I remember the time when Cecil and I were about 4 and 5, and you said that Santy Claus had been to our house on Christmas morning. You had went outside and dragged your feet in the snow to make it look like Santa's sleigh had landed in the yard. You liked to get a fight started by teasing the kids and grandkids that Santa wasn't coming that particular Christmas. He had been shot down, and it was a different place every year. When Cecil and I got old enough to ask you what you wanted for Christmas, you always said that the only thing you wanted was for all of us kids to be healthy and at home with you and Mama for Christmas. You never asked for anything for yourself.

You had a unique snickering, wheezing, snorting laugh. Some of my happiest memories are from holidays and Sundays at home with you and Mama and all the family, eating and laughing. Lots of eating and laughing. You couldn't hear yourself think over all the laughing and talking, but what joy just in being together. Such simple times, not even realizing what precious memories we were making.

As with all things, those times have passed, never to be again, except in our photographs and our memories. First Jerry was gone, then you and then Mama. Sooner or later, one by one, we must all make a divine appointment with our Maker. Although you were saved late in life, you were faithful to your church as long as your health allowed you to go. Thank you for taking me to church, Daddy. I'm so thankful you were saved so I know that you'll be in Heaven with Mama when I get there. There are some in the family who can't say that, and my dearest hope is that they'll be saved before it's too late. Wouldn't that be the grandest thing, after meeting Jesus, to have a great homecoming in Heaven with all the family there, just like it was back then, only better?

Daddy, I think about you and I miss you every day. Oh, I don't sit and dwell on you being gone all the time, and I know you wouldn't want me to stay sad. When I cry, they're tears because I miss you, not tears of grief. When any of us girls and our families get together, our conversations always turn to our happy memories. We think of the good times we had together, and I am so thankful for those times.

I love you, Daddy. Happy Birthday.



Meow said...

What a beautiful tribute to your dad, Diane. He sounds like an amazing man.
Hope you are well.
Take care, hugs, Meow

Lisa said...

That was wonderful, Diane. He sounds like such a great guy!

Sue said...

This was such a loving tribue to your Dad. All those years of wonderful memories! I know exactly what you mean when you say your cry tears of missing him (and not of grief).
I guess that part just never goes away does it...

Barb said...

This made me cry, Diane. I could just "feel" how much you miss him when I read this.

I've enjoyed every single post you've written since I met you. But this, by far, is the most beautiful, well-said thing you've done. This is a beautiful post. You're best.

And the photos are the crowning touch. This made me stop and think about how I'm going to miss my own Daddy someday. My daddy and yours had an awful lot of things in common.

Thank goodness for the comfort of knowing you'll all be reunited with each other someday.

Tammy said...

I'm just sure he got your letter!!

Andre said...

Hey Lady Di,

What an incredible testimony to how awesome your dad is. "Is" being the operative word here.

After reading this post, I think that you made one big mistake. For whatever reason, you listed a birth-death date. Spiritually, we know that he's with Jesus, basking in the glory that awaits all of God's children. Physically, your dad is...well...just look in the mirror!

Terrific post!

Linda said...

Godd memories are a priceless treasure. How important it is for all of us to make happy memories with those we love.
This is such a sweet tribute to your Dad. How wonderful it is to know that we will see those dearest to our hearts again- this time forever.

Dick said...

That is a terrific post, Diane. I am finally beginning to get to the position you talk about where you may cry but it is for missing your loved one rather than in grief. It is now a bit over 14 months since I lost Annie and it is getting easier to get through the days. Although it sure does help to have something and hopefully someone to look forward to spending the rest of my life with.

Mountain Mama said...

Very nice post Diane. As I read I could relate to many of my thoughts and feelings about my own father.
Daddy's are special people.
I too am looking forward to that wonderful reunion with my loved ones, in that place where we will never have to say good-by.

PEA said...

(((Diane))) I certainly can relate to a lot of what you wrote today...I could tell how this post was written with love. I lost my dad in 1979 when he was only 48 and I feel so robbed...we had so many memories to make yet but it wasn't meant to be. So to me, my dad will always be young. Hugs xoxo

Big Mama said...

Diane, I just love this tribute to your daddy. I can just imagine the kind of man he was from your vivid description. Thanks so much for sharing your memories and your pictures. Just priceless.

Alex said...

that was beautiful Diane.
I consider myself very lucky that I haven't had to deal with the passing of my parents yet. I know one day I will have to deal with it but not just yet

Dawn said...

This is so beautiful, Diane. What a great tribute. My husband's dad is dying at this moment, in hospice care. He's 93 and has had a wonderful life as a pastor, father, grandfather. He is a real character. Hard days are coming for all of us.

kansasrose said...

Dear Diane, What a beautiful and powerful tribute to your Dad. What a good man he was...and what a beautiful and good daughter he raised! You have a gift with words from the heart. Your writings enrich and edify life. Thank you....Rose

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

what a heart tugging post , so filled with emotion and such a wonderful tribute to your Daddy that anyone would be blessed to receive it . Your love for your Father shines through like a new penny and I am sure he feels the love . Wishing you peace and Gods Blessing , a close to your heart post , thanks for sharing
Loves you ,BIgger than Big squishier then squishy HUGS


Connie and Rob said...

Dear Diane,
You are just amazing to me that you are able to put your thoughts down in such a wonderful way.

Thank you for sharing your tribute. Your dad sounds very special.


"The Glenifer" said...

Beautiful. You really are a gifted writer. Your dad may have not been very good at expressing his feelings, but you certainly are. I can feel your love for him.

It was wonderful to meet you yesterday, Diane. I really enjoyed talking with you.

Thanks for the heads up on the road construction. I had a smooth ride home.


Granny said...

Sorry about the late arrival.

A lovely post. He sounds like so many of the dads back there although I'm sure he was unique in his own way as well.

Nasty Nashe said...

u were a tomboy? hmm.

i liked that tribute. it was V nice, Di. Truly heartfelt.
u make me feel lucky to have my dad still around. =)

take care, Di. im still swamped in school work. I'm in between 2 exam papers right now! just thought i'd check in for a moment. Later!

RennyBA said...

What a wonderful tribute to your father Diane and how great of you to write down this memories for all of us to read and partisipate in the tribute of you dad!
It reminds me of how lucky I am to still have mine in live and I'll just call him right away to say I love him!
Have a lovely end to your week:-)

Yasser Rahman said...

Made my heart melt and brought a tear to my eye.. *hugs*

Naturegirl said...

A very heartfelt tribute to your dad..many memories good and bad but that's life. I never knew my dad as he passed away when I was an infant I only dream of what could have been. Interesting that throughout my life I always felt the loss in my heart.My mother very seldom spoke of him ..I think it was too painful for her.Your memories will be with you forever Diane.Peace be to you. hugs NG

Linda said...

Just wanted to say thanks for the sweet comment. I've missed you. You must be working very hard these days. I'm going to check and see what's for sunday dinner. Although, on second thought, perhaps you deserve a day off.
Take care Diane.