cancer, courage, faith, Family, kindness, ldsmom, mother, motherhood, Wednesday Stories

His Quiet Strength

Sometimes it’s crazy when you sit down and ponder how much time has elapsed since an event.  Today’s post is a very special one by my friend Kelli.  I first met her when we moved in next door to her family.  She is part of an exceptional family.  They are all so kind!  Really truly!  I had the blessing of serving in our church young women’s program when she was a teenager.  So that dates me just a bit.  Now she is an amazing mom to two of the CUTEST kids ever!  She exhibits, whether she realizes it or not, the quiet strength and faith of her father.  If you ever have the chance to get to know her, it will bless your life.

I hope that today on Father’s day, you will take the opportunity, if you have it, to hug your father.  Tell him how much he means to you.  Or reach out to someone who might not be remembered, and brighten their day.

Here’s Kelli’s story:

“What a wonderful opportunity it is to reflect on the great man my dad is!

Growing up, I always knew Dad took care of us, but as I got older I came to understand what sacrifices both him and my mom made – to make sure we were well fed, clothed, and were able to do the things that we wanted. We always had enough, and I am forever grateful for parents who worked very hard, sometimes long hours and extra jobs, to make sure we were all happy. My dad was a quiet man, and if you knew him you could attest to that. Although quiet, he cared deeply for his friends and family. He would go out of his way to comfort us when we were struggling. I remember a time I was very stressed, confused and overwhelmed with school and my relationships. He immediately saw an opening to serve his daughter, and took me on a lunch date. Dad talked me through some of the feelings I was having, and the fact that he cared enough to spend one on one time with me meant the world.

Yes, Dad was more on the reserved side, but he also had a hidden talent for lip-syncing. I will never forget people’s reactions when Dad would pantomime to “Green and Purple Pills.” It was wonderful to see him come out of his shell, and surprise everyone with his energy! My dad loved basketball, and not just any basketball…Kentucky basketball. It was something that he was super passionate about, and it was always fun (when UK was winning) to watch those games with him.

I loved game night with Dad, most of which consisted of Rook. He was surprised and challenged when I married Jason, who had more card game skills than the rest of us. I get my love of books, movies, UK basketball, and many more things from him.

Dad was humble. He was very smart and had many talents, but never boasted. He spent his time congratulating us kids on our successes, and he was proud of all of us. I think that’s partly why I worked so hard in school – I knew he would be proud. I never EVER heard him speak ill about anybody. I knew that he saw me and those he surrounded himself with as children of our Father in Heaven, and tried very hard not to gossip or talk badly about others. He had a deep love for God and had undeniable faith in Him and His Son. Dad taught me many valuable lessons, in few words of course, about what it means to follow Christ and His commandments.

I was 18 when my dad was first diagnosed with cancer. I remember crumbling to the steps of my Biology building at SUU(Southern Utah University). I have never felt so lost, confused, and frustrated with God. I was 18 – He was supposed to be there for my wedding, to get to know his grand-kids, and be there when we moved into our future home full of advice and direction.

I was blessed though, and my dad was able to see Jason and I married, and we were given 2 more years with him after that. Watching him (and my mom) during these 2 years was one of the greatest blessings of my life. I was able to witness them fall in love (again!). Their faith was unshakeable, and I am eternally grateful for their strength and trust in God during this time. Yes, it was a very hard road leading up to his passing in 2013, but as a family we were able to have some very special and spiritual moments.

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Even though watching him battle cancer was hard, I was not prepared for what came next. Only a couple months after Dad died, we found out we were pregnant, and then moved to Oregon for Jason to attend optometry school. Being alone most days, away from my family who were all healing together, and pregnant made for a very rough year. Then my sweet little Rylee came to us. She brought hope and peace to our lives, and I welcomed the chance to stay busy.

It wasn’t until Rylee was almost 2 that I finally started dealing with my residual feelings about losing my dad. It took time, support from friends and family, and great humility to know that I couldn’t do this alone. I got the help and guidance I needed, and was able to come to terms with what had happened and my anxiety that stemmed from it. I have learned a great deal about depression and anxiety, but also about healing and overcoming challenges and trials. I am thankful for a Savior who never left my side during this time (even though I didn’t notice He was there). I am grateful for my testimony and faith in God’s Plan to know that I will reunite with my Dad again. I smile knowing that he is in Heaven watching out for us and find comfort in knowing my kids (and my sibling’s kids) get some time learning from him before they settle in with us down here. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful and strong mother to turn to. She has been our family’s rock, and we are incredibly thankful for her.

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I am grateful for my dad and for the many things he taught me. I’m thankful for his kindness, his testimony, and love for his family. I will never forget these things, and pray I can practice them enough to pass them down to my children.”

I hope you enjoyed this tender story.  I hope we can all learn to cherish the time we get on earth a little more today than we did yesterday.  I hope as a parent that I can be like Kelli’s father, Wayne, and take time to show my kids they matter to me in those quiet moments I have with them.  Families are a blessing.  Families are Forever.

Life is Good.  Share the Good.

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