Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I Love You Daddy

On Tuesday September 28, at 10:45 in the morning, my Daddy went to be with Jesus in heaven. His heart, so tired after all of it's struggles after his surgery, simply wore out and stopped beating. Maybe someday, I will be able to write about that day here. For now, it is too raw, too personal, and too agonizing. When I try to sleep, my brain replays the 8 hours of terror from the time my Mom called me at 2:15 in the morning to tell me his Life Vest had alarmed and the paramedics were at their house, to the time my Mom and my siblings and I stood around his hospital bed, holding on to him and saying good bye.

My Daddy was so much more than just a Dad to me. He was also my hero, my friend, and my protector. He was my mentor and model. Most everything I have done in my life has been with the intent to make my Dad proud of me. At his wake service last Thursday, I knew I had to write and read a eulogy to him. I wanted him to be proud of me again, and I wanted the world to know what an amazing man he was. Is. I know that just because he is in heaven, he hasn't stopped being amazing. I know that he is continuing to love and care for me, and always will.

I am so proud, and so thankful, that I was able to read the following words that night clearly, and without faltering. It was my gift to my Dad. It was my way to send my love to him. Here is what I read:

Creighton John Micek Jr. Also known as John, CJ, Creighton, and Poppo. But to me, he is Daddy. All of you know him from different places. To some of you he is brother, friend, coworker, bike riding buddy, or fellow member of the Buttheads. All of us here though can say that regardless of where we knew him from, he was one of the best men we’ve ever known. Tonight I would like to share with you some stories about my Dad that exemplify the qualities that made him so special to so many.

Dad grew up in a family of 10 children. He was closest in age to his sister Linda. He spoke of riding bikes with her to the library, and then taking their books into the cool of the basement to read away an afternoon together. Linda also often talks fondly of walking home from school for lunch together, hand in hand. The two of them developed a lifelong love of books, but it was Dad who continued with bike riding into adulthood. He rode in countless years of Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska events, and organized many weekend riding excursions with friends. This was how his group of friends, the Buttheads, got their start. Dad firmly believed that everyone should enjoy riding a bike, and when he made a new friend, that friend would often quickly find himself gripping handlebars and peddling quickly.

It was also Dad who brought people together. He loved to meet new people and bring them into his circle of friends. For example, the people he loved to play pool with were work friends, brothers, and biking and hiking buddies. Dad had a knack for mixing people of all backgrounds together, and creating a social group that loved to have fun.

In addition to his friends, family was a large part of his heart.

My parents met on March 10, 1972. He remained devoted to my Mom ever after. Through his love for Mom, Dad provided a wonderful example to us of marriage. Though they had their ups and downs like all couples, Dad never wavered in his faithfulness and devotion in their almost 36 years of marriage.

Dad was also the most dedicated of fathers. Here my brothers and sister and I have many stories to share. When it was only Sarah and I, and Mom worked weekends, Dad was in charge. He could only cook one meal, so every Saturday night he made us macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and pork ‘n beans. To make up for the meal, afterwards he would always fix us a Tostinos party pizza and let us stay up and watch Creature Feature while we snuggled on his lap.

When Creighton came along, he was the cutest, chubbiest, but also the most colicky baby any of us had ever laid eyes on. Every night like clockwork, just as Dad was coming home from work, Creighton would start screaming. Dad was the only one who could calm him down by doing what we called his Indian War Dance. He would walk around the house for hours, bouncing Creighton on his hip, and singing an Indian war cry.

Ben’s arrival brought with it a series of health issues that required many procedures done at Medical City Dallas. Dad quickly ran out of vacation time, so every weekend he would drive 13 hours down to Dallas after work on Friday, and have to return on Sunday, just to spend a few hours with Mom and Ben. He always gave exactly what a situation required, without complaint.

Just as this was a great example for us, he taught his children other things by example as well. For 15 years after my Grandpa’s stroke, Dad gave Papa Creighton a weekly shower, did their bills, handled home repair, and Ben even remembers winding their grandfather clock every week before we left. When Dad became sick in August, we all knew just what to do because he had shown us. We had a family meeting and voluntarily took on chores and responsibilities that he could no longer do. Not only did he serve others, but he always did it with a joyful heart. Just by watching how he treated people, we learned honesty, integrity, and loyalty. Even when he was feeling his very worst these last two months, he made sure to call each health care worker by name, and thank them for their care.

He didn’t reserve his kindness just for friends and family, but for everyone that he met. At Mutual, he met a woman named Lou who worked in the coffee shop. He always struck up a conversation, and they quickly became friends. When she heard he was sick, she found my brother Creighton online and told him to tell Dad that his first cup of coffee when he came back would be on her, and he promised to collect.

While Dad was an honorable man, he was certainly not stuffy, and he loved to have fun. He loved to take his grandson Evan camping with the guys. Dad, the frustrated astronomer, loved to shoot off rockets as a kid, so he enjoyed introducing Evan to the joys of rocket building. He also loved to think of activities specific to the interests of each grandchild. Dad played in the black truck with Colin, played air hockey with Charlie and Sammy, and read princess books to Brooke. One of Dad’s favorite pastimes was lounging in the horse tank, and all of us loved to soak in the sun with him and enjoy a beer or a root beer.

Daddy and I were always very close. I knew that I didn’t want to go through childbirth without him there to hold my hand and coach me through. I will always treasure the memory of him being present at the births of all three of my children. I will never forget his excited expression as he welcomed Evan into the world, and introduced himself into Poppo dom. Dad and I always thought exactly alike. We could just look at each other, and know we were having the exact same thought.

He was the BEST dad ever and loved each of his children fiercely. When he discovered that the name Sarah meant little princess, he thought it was perfect, and forever after he referred to her as his little princess. He beamed with pride when Creighton came along, and he could proudly pass on his name and introduce the world to Creighton John Micek III. Benjamin was Joseph’s younger brother in the Bible, and the Bible describes him as much loved. Dad thought this was the perfect name for Ben, as he always was very protective of him.

So tonight, we’ve looked at the qualities that made Dad so special. Each and every person in this room has been blessed for knowing him. He is a gift to us that we will always carry in our hearts, we hope that you will too.

I love you Daddy. I miss you every second of every day. My heart has a big empty hole, right in the middle that won't be fixed until I can see you again.


John and Teresa said...

this brings tears to my eyes all over again, christy. the pain, i know, is unimaginable and i don't have the words to say. just know that i think of you all everyday and pray for the comfort that only God can bring. we love you guys so much.

sectheatre said...

I haven't been on your blog for a while and just read this today. I am sitting at my desk crying for you because it is so sweet and so sad. I hope you are holding up ok. I'd love to see you if you are up to it. I need to give you another hug. I'd be glad to meet you at your house and share my time with you with the kids if that is easier for you.

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