TRIBUTE TO MY DAD

My Dad passed away last Wednesday, October 8th at the awesome age of ninety-one! Today, my family is laying him to rest. I can’t help but feel sad today, yet I am joyful for his journey to Heaven’s Gate.

Truthfully, nothing can fill this void I feel over the loss of my Dad right now. There is no book that allows you to obtain the knowledge of dealing with grief, and how to let go. There are no time constraints on grief, and whoever came up with the phrase “Good Grief”, never lost anyone!

My Dad and Mom were married for sixty-seven years, which ultimately taught me that “True Love” does exist. My Dad enjoyed life, and his smile was a constant reminder of how to live life to the fullest. He was a World War II Veteran, which made me all the more proud of who he was. My dad was strict, yet he instilled in us and rallied for us to have Christ in our lives, and we all knew how much he adored and loved us. I will miss my dad more than anything in life.

My Dad was a great story teller. He published his autobiography a few years back, which has paved the road for my love of writing as well. So, on this beautiful, sunny day, where my dad is finding his final resting place, I bid him farewell. I leave him with a story we were working on together.

BIKE

THE BLUE BICYCLE
In all its awesomeness it sparkled brightly in the sun, as I took the first ride down the road of my youth. The ride was smooth, and the bumps in the road went unnoticeable. The glittery streamers tossed to and fro in the wind, as cars whisked on by. I felt as if I was flying! The first ride on a new bicycle is ultimately the most exhilarating of your life. This bicycle is one of the fondest memories of my youth, as is the summer I spent rebuilding an old bike with my father. Even as time has passed into the future, the events of that day remain the same, and the memory of that first joyful ride continues to play over and over in my mind.
My father and I rebuilt this mean machine during the summer of my seventh year. Having children can drain anyone’s wallet, and I being the third child meant there were very few dollars left in the “excitement fund” to indulge in a brand new bicycle. My father graciously accepted a used bike from a friend, and brought it home in the back of his car. I was unaware of his intentions at the time. When he pulled a completely black bicycle out of his car, I was overtaken with fear! Fear that I would be laughed at for having the “ugliest” bike on the planet! This bicycle left nothing for the adoring eye, as it was black, totally black with absolutely no chrome! There was no shiny, glitzy anything! In fact, there wasn’t anything about this bike that made it desirable. Little did I know my father already had a plan in the works, for along with this black bicycle came all the accessories to make this bike a work of art. First, came the silver, glitter banana bike seat! Now even at my young age, I was aware that the “banana seat” bike could quite frankly make you the envy of all the kids in your neighborhood. But, my dad didn’t stop at the bike seat! The next thing to come out of his car were glittery handle bar grips and hot pink streamers! I was a sucker for anything fluorescent in color, so this sealed the deal! On this particular day in the summer of my youth, my dad won me over by having a plan to remake a used bike into something totally new! My dad’s plan to rebuild this work of art is still a memory I keep on reserve in my memory bank. I keep this memory on reserve and I think of this day from time to time, with love and admiration for my Dad who made the Summer of my seventh year so special.

We spent days on this bicycle, just my dad and I. This was one of the best summers ever! Here we were, my dad and I taking this bike apart piece by piece. My father allowed me to choose the color of the frame of the bike, and I chose blue, Cobalt blue. Not necessarily the standard color for a girl’s bike, but at the time I thought cobalt blue and hot pink would look totally cool flying down the street. As we dismantled the bicycle, my father taught me valuable lessons on using the proper tools and I became all too familiar with wrenches, pliers and screw drivers all in the same day!

After we dismantled the entire bicycle, we painted the frame, and then put the bike back together piece by piece. It seemed like it would take forever to tear the bike down, paint it and put it back together. Even at my young age, my father taught me some important lessons about taking your time when completing a task. He taught me about taking pride in every job you do. He taught me that if you take your time and have patience when putting the bicycle back together, it will give you years of joy. Even then, I didn’t realize how important these life lessons were that he was teaching me. These were the building blocks to how I now lead my life.

I know my dad is in Heaven, and I know I’ll see him again. I know that he’s dancing in the clouds and telling stories to everyone around him. I know, because he taught me to believe. So when you see a cloud, a rainbow or even a blue bicycle, don’t doubt for a minute, that that man, that beautiful man with the piercing blue eyes is smiling down on us all.

So on this day, this day of final rest for my Father, I tell you this, laugh, truly laugh at everything around you. Dance and dance like you’ve never danced before. Play music loud and clear, because music was indeed his passion. Kiss your kids, hug your wife or friend and tell them they are loved. Live! When we all do this every time, and think of my Dad, the angels in heaven will truly sing.
SANDIE HECKMAN

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