They That Sow in Tears Shall Reap in Joy

August 27, 2017

My father passed away a few days ago.
My dad and I used to drive 20 minutes across town every Saturday without fail to get donuts and kolaches from our favorite donut shop.
He always came home from the grocery store with chocolate. I’m not talking about Hershey’s or Butterfingers -- he brought home Lindt truffles and Ghirardelli.
After church on Sundays, when we were younger, he would take me, David, and Julian to play tennis together at the park by our house.
I would go on walks with him and he would point out different kinds of trees and other plants to me. He was so, so brilliant. He knew about everything.
When I lost my glasses, or my notebook, or my favorite toy, Mom and I would look forever for it. As soon as we called Dad over, he would find it within a minute. He was always good at that.
When he traveled on business when we were young kids, he always sent postcards with planes on them for each of us. We were always so excited to see him when he was back. Those were some of the pure joy moments I will always remember.
He was writing a book. He was always writing. He had poems from long ago and gave me one to use to handletter and sell as a Christmas card.

He knew how to fix everything. I know that everyone says that about their father but he was an engineer and a crafter. He had two masters degrees and loved learning.
When I was 8 or 9, he worked with me to get my ham radio license. I think I had to take the test four times before passing, but he was always kind and patient despite my multiple failures. Once I did pass, we used to get on the radio every Sunday night and talk to other ham radio operators in our stake. It was our special thing. At one of my jobs, I work with a bunch of trades guys and I had told them I had a ham radio license and they were all so surprised. I texted him about it a couple of weeks ago and he told me he was still proud of me for getting that.
He taught me how to drive stick behind the grocery store by our house. He didn't say anything when I stalled over and over again. When I was in high school, I drove his truck that he had bought brand new in 1980 -- it was twice my age. It was falling apart but we both loved it and we were both sad when we had to get rid of it.
He taught us to love to read. Even when we were grown up, we would sometimes have him read books to us before bed. He read Harry Potter with me for the first time. He bought me books and took me to the library and whenever he had free time he had a book in his hand.
He was just so gentle and kind. He was patient with all of us. He always came to me when I was crying and nobody else wanted to deal with me. I knew that he was on my side. He would always do his best to include me.
When I was in eighth grade, I decided to be rebellious and take German instead of Spanish. My dad was against it (he wanted me to take Spanish like David and Julian so that I could communicate with my mom's side of the family) but my mom convinced him to let me. He had served his mission German-speaking in Switzerland and it was nice having something so special in common (although I will say that after 5 years of German classes, I still didn’t understand most of what he said to me when he tried speaking with me in German).
On the 3rd day of eighth grade, I somehow convinced my parents to let me go to a German emo rock concert. My dad volunteered to go with me, and I’m convinced that it was probably the worst three hours of his life, but he didn’t mind because he knew it made me happy (Julian did mind, and never forgot how I got to go to my first concert so much younger than she went to hers -- but he always took her to concerts, too).

A few years ago my Bishop shared a scripture at the pulpit -- Psalms 126:5: "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." I have not forgotten this scripture since. I don't know why life is so, so hard, or why my family is having to go through this again so close to my sister's death. The only semblance of comfort that I have right now is imagining how excited Julian would’ve been to see him. I can picture the specific outfit she is wearing and her excitedly exclaiming “Dad!” She hated hugging, but I’m sure she would’ve given him the biggest one. I can’t imagine a happier reunion. For now, I will hold on to that picture, and just keep going on the best that I can.

Yours truly,

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  1. Beautiful memories! Thank you for sharing them❤️

  2. Dear Sweet McKay,

    This is such a touching tribute to a fine man!! I too am picturing their reunion!! My thoughts and prayers are truly with you now, I know Father is aware of you and your family. Much love is being sent your way!!!!

  3. God bless you all. Thanks for sharing <3 He was a magnificent human being. You have many great things to share with your posterity.

  4. Thank you for sharing this his wonderful tribute to your Dad. He would always sit and chat awhile with me in the halls. We even took the same water aerobics class for a few weeks! How lucky you are to have such a gentle, loving father.

  5. I've always been impressed by how engaging your writing is, and your keen attention to detail. It's pretty special that you inherited that skill from him. The image of their reunion is so moving. Hold on to that image, lovie. I'm convinced it's reality. Thank you for opening your heart, it strengthened me today!!

  6. You embody grace and patience in every way, my friend.

  7. I love this and I love you. Keep sharing stories.

  8. Absolutely beautiful, your memories describe your father so well. He was such a kind, gentle soul and it warms my heart to know all the amazing things he did for you. As a parent I know some expressions of our love are quietly missed by our children. Obviously you noticed and knew it was because he loved you so much. Peace be with you, sweet McKay.

  9. McKay your father was a remarkable man who loved his family very much. Hold on to those precious memories of your sweet father. May the Lord bless you, David and your mom with peace and comfort during this most difficult time. Thank you for sharing your memories.