Serving the High Plains

Trying to honor my father in all I do

Father’s Day is sneaking up on me.

Since my dad died, there is a hint of sadness tied in with the gratitude I feel remembering my dad. This year, it’s compounded by the passing of my father-in-law George Head, who died a day before the fifth anniversary of my own dad’s passing. And about a month and a half before that, my brother-in-law George died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

This past weekend, generations of family gathered in Kingman, Ariz., to celebrate the lives of both Georges. As these things go, there were equal amounts of tears and laughter and love. And stories, so many stories.

Prior to the celebration, my husband Wayne spent time making a rattle, a walking stick, and a hat band to give away. In his Native American heritage, a giveaway is a gift given from the best part of your heart. While creating the pieces didn’t lessen the grief of losing both Georges, it did bring comfort being wrapped in memories while completing them.

After my own dad died, the sense of loss was overwhelming, so much so that at times it hurt to breathe. I didn’t know how I would make it from moment to moment, much less day to day. So much of who I am and what I do is wrapped up in my dad. Stories became a lifeline for me. And as time went on, the dadisms, the stories, the memories became bigger than the grief.

Even now, five years later, I still think of what my dad would do or how he would act. And then I proceed with whatever I’m doing or need to do. I take comfort in having had such a relationship with him that I can look back and still rely on those lessons and memories to guide me.

I try to leave a place better than when I found it. I try to be good for something, not just good at something. He was a servant leader, and I walk in those footsteps. “Do the best that you can with what you know, and when you know better, do better.” I don’t know if he made that up or someone else did, but it’s a great way to live and grow.

I try to speak and do all things from a place of love. My dad was a big one for that; he took that whole “love your neighbor as yourself” thing to heart. No qualifications – no “love, but …” – just love. I keep those, and so many more lessons and memories tucked in my heart.

In everything that I say and do, I try to honor his legacy and his memory. And if I truly walk in love, and love my neighbor, his legacy continues. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you to the moon and back.

Patti Dobson writes about faith for The Eastern New Mexico News and Quay County Sun. Contact her at:

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