Last year we were out of town on your birthday, but I wanted to make sure we called and wished you a Happy Birthday. We all loved talking to you through Messenger and being able to see you and wish you a Happy Birthday.
The other day a memory popped up from the 2nd Sunday 6 years ago singing to you and mom Happy Birthday. You and mom looked so happy. One of my most favorite things each and every year was seeing you and mom celebrate your birthdays together since they were just a few days apart. In my post I said that I was so grateful for the miracle we got 4 years earlier to have you back with us from your Cardiac Arrest and that I cherished each day we had you.
Covid - when it shut down our world in March of 2020 it was hard, it was something that was a concern, but thought if we are careful we’ll be good. You weren’t worried about it. You knew things needed to be done at the Bishop’s Storehouse to be safe, but things would be good. You had faith that everything would work out. We missed out on being together as a family a lot this last year. We didn’t get Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the list goes on. We found a way though - we still found a way to connect as a family. We also took advantage of different opportunities to gather outside so that we could all be together.
Being together was so important to you. You built our home to be that way. For Christmas each year even as a child and teenager you purchased things for our home that would bring people to our home. Our home was a safe place for so many people over the years. Your door was always open - just walk on in. Borrow my stuff and no, there’s no charge. The Lord blessed me with all of these things so I will share to bless others lives.
Your yard. Your pride and joy. You create an amazing yard that people would come to for any reason. The pool. Brought so much peace and fun for everyone that used it. It was a beautiful background for receptions, ward parties, reunions and the list goes on. So often we’d find you sitting out by the pool listening to the running water - a feeling of such peace. You’d take your book out there and sit and read.
Your trains. Our vision of your vision was very small compared to what you brought to all of our lives and the community. Over 100,000 people came to your yard for train rides for Nightmare Express and Polar Express. The stories and experiences from what you provided for so many could be shared forever. Not only did you bless the lives of those who came to enjoy the train rides, but more so our lives that volunteered.
Family time. Vacations. Making memories together as a family. You worked so hard to provide so many opportunities for your children. That was a highlight for all of us. You were able to relax and we were able to have fun with you and mom and all of us as a family. We never went a summer without some kind of vacation. We knew we could look forward to Lagoon and a family vacation. It wasn’t where we went, but the traveling memories of singing, treats, activities and time together.
Dad, you had many hard times in your life. You had close friends betray you. You loved unconditionally even when those around you didn’t love unconditionally. You had childhood experiences that brought about parents in different homes. Went through divorce. You and your dad became business partners in the 70’s and together you did so many great things. Provided work for so many. Subcontractors that were so grateful for the work you provided them. You and your dad helped so many missionaries, even when money was super tight. You did all you could to take care of so many.
You went about life with a smile. You went about looking for opportunities to serve the Lord and to serve everyone and anyone around you. You wanted everyone to know that the Lord loved them. You loved serving at the storehouse and your hand prints and life are in every aspect of the storehouse. The temple was a very special place for you. You loved speaking Spanish and helping those around you that might not understand English. Oftentimes we couldn’t find you because you were out doing good - serving someone.
Every Friday you made it a point to go outside and see the guy picking up your garbage. You took him out a treat and a drink and became a dear friend of his. Now your oldest son has been continuing that tradition and is loving it. There’s so much we do, because of what you taught us and your example.
Dad, we miss you something fierce. We shouldn’t be celebrating your 72nd birthday without you here. That wasn’t on the calendar, it wasn’t on the agenda, it wasn’t on any of our minds that this would be how it is. I’m so glad that for your 70th we held a party. We invited so many of your friends and family and it was such a fun, memorable evening.
All of your children, in laws (or as you liked to call them out laws), grandchildren, your wife - all of us miss you so much! Dad, I hope you know how much we love you. You might not have really understood that completely when you were here on Earth, but I hope you know now. You’re missed by so many.
So often we hear people sharing experiences or thoughts that yep, that was Mike. He was in the details of that or I saw his hand in my life in this way or that way. I know you’re here with us, but just not how I would want it or have wished for it to be. I long for that one more hug or that one more time of you telling me “I love you sweetheart” and you walking out the back door and waving to us as we drive away.
You loved to challenge me. You loved asking hard questions, well deep questions. I didn’t like them most of the time. I found myself always saying that if I can’t get to heaven on basic principles then I won’t get to heaven. Then you would find others that would answer your deep questions, but I would listen. I would take in pieces of your conversations and I learned so much from you. Even with the hard or tricky questions I wish so much that I would have taken the time to soak up so much more from you. Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have right in front of us until the opportunities are gone. I’d give anything to have one more of those conversations with you and I’d change my interactions with those conversations. You had so much to share and teach all of us.
One of the last questions you asked me was who is the only person in all of our family pictures. I looked at you weird and then thought about it and I really knew what the answer was and that was me. You and mom were a couple and me being the oldest I was your first child that made you a dad and mom a mom and made us a family. You were so proud of that - you were so proud of me being your oldest.
Also one of our last conversations you shared with me that you loved having me in the office, because you knew you would be taken care of by me. That I would make sure you were fed and help you and take care of what you needed. I’m so grateful we had that conversation before you died. I needed to know that you were proud of me and loved working with me.
The last hug, the last I love you sweetheart, I felt it the very most. There was something special and I knew it without any doubt. I hope you know how much I love you dad. I hope I showed you throughout my whole life. Even through our differences and struggles and different choices I hope you know that I loved you.
There’s so much I want to say to you dad. I wish we could have had that one last conversation with you awake. It’s been almost 3 months since I last saw you in person awake, living a normal life. The next time I saw you was when you were unconscious on your last couple of days before you passed away. That breaks my heart.
Well Dad, it’s your 72nd Birthday and I miss you terribly! Why can’t you be here with us? Why did you have to go? Why did Covid have to take you? Why did your body have to give up? Why was it your time?
Well, we might not ever know the why’s, but what I do know is that we will celebrate your life. We’ll celebrate all you’ve taught us. The boys have so many fond, special memories with you. They know of your love. We all know of your love for each and everyone of us. We all felt special and loved by you. We all have been greatly blessed by the life you lived. By your example. We won’t ever forget. Thank you dad! Thank you for living the life that you did. Thank you for providing us with life experiences and teaching us how to live a Christlike life. Someday I won’t ask the why’s. I’ve found more peace day by day, but the tears do come. They still come often. I know you’re there comforting me. Just in a very different way than I could have ever imagined.
I love you dad! We’ll celebrate here and will live like you and I hope you get to celebrate there! Happy Birthday in Heaven Dad!
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity