(Note: I’ve been on a blogging break since last summer, focused on writing my book. I’d say it was a neat coincidence that my last post was about my dad, except I don’t believe in coincidences. This tough post hopefully marks my return to blogging, as I’ve stored up some stuff to share with y’all. But that’s for another day.)
Tomorrow, December 10th, will be a difficult day for my family. Although it seems like just last week, it’s been a little more than 6 weeks since my dad went outside to walk his dog, Luke, and passed away lying under a grove of oak trees. Had he been given the opportunity to choose where he would die, I’m sure that Dad would have chosen it just that way — just him, outside, somewhere beautiful.
Tomorrow would have been my parents’ 54th wedding anniversary, and I can think of no better way to honor my father’s legacy and his love for my mother and the family they created than to share with you the following piece that my dad wrote just six days before he died.
Despite how very, very much I miss my dad, and how grieved I am for my mom, I have been so comforted by the clear movement of God’s hand in the timing of events allowing my mother to find this the night of my father’s death. Dad died right at the start of a big wind and rain storm, and the power was out for several hours afterwards. Not only did the storm, the dark, and the quiet feel appropriate to us in those first horrible moments and hours, but it meant that when my mom was finally alone that evening, she could not turn to friends by email or Facebook as she might otherwise have done. She was alone and unconnected that evening in the dark, numbly looking at her tablet, when she saw the “Pages” app, which she’d never seen or used before.
The only thing in it was this piece, created just the week before, when my dad had spent a few days in the hospital. He had not mentioned it to us, but clearly Dad had some sense that his life was drawing to a close. Had the power not been out that night, it might have been days or weeks or more before my mother found it, but because the power was out she found it and was able to immediately recognize it as my father’s last gift to her, and to us.
There was nothing left unsaid between my father and I, and I cannot be anything other than grateful for the 45 years I had with him. I knew he loved me and was proud of me, and he knew I loved him. I’d had a wonderful lunch with Mom and Dad just the day before, and I am so grateful that the gift he left us, through his life and through this letter, is that we have no regrets.
I share this with you then in my dad’s honor, and in honor of the nearly 54 years he spent loving my mom and our family. I hope that after you read this, you will determine to share that same gift with the people you love.
Life is short, and we do not know how much time we will have.
Make sure your people know you love them.
by Howard Lowery
Every phase of my life has been an adventure; marriage to the love of my life, my life partner, camping buddy and confidant. Adventure with our beloved children Tara, Scott and our Grandchildren (and little squirt, the new great grandson) and Tara’s wonderful husband, David Rolstad. What marvelous descendents Carol and I created!
I have loved Carol with unbridled abandon, our children with awe and wonder and our grandchildren with devotion.
I have loved all my assorted family and enjoyed them when we had contact. I have greatly cherished brother Ken and his family and enjoyed many adventures with him and them.
My spiritual life has been with constant love and worship for my Lord and Savior, striving to share and be a blessing to others.
I have always strived to be faithful to the mission of free public education and a career well served and enjoyed.
I hope that I have been faithful and true to all my many friends over the years as they have been an inspiration and blessing to me.
There are no regrets; if I missed it it wasn’t for lack of trying.
— Written October 25, 2014, one week before his death