My Photo
I have a wonderful husband and a sweet little boy who bring me lots of joy. I love photography and try to preserve memories for my family.
View my complete profile
Images on this blog are property of Alexis Miller. Do not download or reproduce these images in any way.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Heart is Full

These are photos of my wonderful father with my son when he was 7 months old. They are especially precious images to me now, as my dad passed away last Thursday, December 11, 2008. He went in for open heart surgery, and although the surgery itself went well, my father was not able to recover.

My father was an incredible man. He was quiet in public, and very humble, but he was also tremendously charitable and courageous. Almost 20 years ago, he was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease. The disease eventually took both his kidneys, and he was required to use dialysis to survive. Then, in 1998, he was blessed with a kidney transplant, which went into rejection about a year later. So, it was necessary for him to go on dialysis again. He also had heart problems (many of which were related to his kidney disease.) His health problems were very taxing on his body, and he told my mother numerous times that if it weren't for "her and the kids" he would give up. He loved us so very much that he was willing to suffer with patience for much of his life so that we could keep him with us for so long. I am often amazed at his great selflessness and love. He rarely complained, and whenever anyone would ask him about his health or how he was feeling, he would say that he was fine or doing well, and he would turn the focus and compassion to those around him.

I am heartbroken, but I am also filled with gratitude. I am so thankful that I was one of the three lucky people that were blessed to call him "dad." My dad loved my mother more than I can tell you. He was such a wonderful example and I have learned so very much from him throughout my life about character and faith. As I have reflected on my life and the character of my father, I have found that I still can learn so very much from him. I cannot find words to express how I really feel about the quality of his character, his courage, or his faithfulness. My family is LDS, or Mormon. Although many people thought that he was just "inactive" because he rarely attended church due to his health, he absolutely knew without a doubt that his Father in Heaven was there for him, that he was real, that he loved him, and that he would support him through his trials. He knew the love of the Savior, and he had such a deep understanding of the true meaning of the Gospel. Throughout my life, he wanted me to also know Heavenly Father and the Savior. I fondly remember as a child sitting on his lap in the rocking chair in the front room and singing, "Jesus Once Was a Little Child" with him. I have been so blessed to be able to know him and love him my entire life.

I am so thankful for the father that he was to myself and my two brothers, and the sweet husband he was to my mother. He was never too busy for us, and was always willing to stop whatever he was doing if any one of us needed to talk. He was a wonderful listener. I always knew how much he loved me. Always. He was a very creative problem solver, and I feel so blessed to have part of that with me.

I will always miss him tremendously, but over the past several days, I have felt his presence with me. I know that he is still here with us, but is free from the body that brought him so much pain. Although I wish that I could still have the same conversations with him, I feel such happiness for him in the knowledge that he is happy and free now. I am sad for me, and I probably will be a little sad for me for the rest of my life, but I will always be grateful to my Father in Heaven for the wonderful time I had with him, and also for the peace and joy that I know he is feeling now.

My dad truly loved this song. It is called "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," and he would often play (5 times in a row) the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version as loud as his stereo would go. It was sung beautifully as a solo at his funeral yesterday. I love the depth of this song. I posted the lyrics below:

1. Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

2. Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.

3. Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.

4. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.