My dad was the toughest person I have ever known. He made Chuck Norris look like a cream puff. Not in a wild tornado karate kicking kind of way. But with an inner determination that was pure steel-or titanium, because I think that's harder than steel. (I am after all, the wife of an engineer-precision is necessary) When the Marines got first pick out of the drafted men, he was the second one chosen.
He was the sort of guy who decided he wanted to mine for gold in the mountains. So he went full out, with the beard and the dynamite, and the metal pan.
He built a stove for my mom to cook with and they slept in tents and bathed in the river. And to up the ante a little bit, he also did this with 5 kids in tow.
He was the sort of guy who decided that delivering babies couldn't be that much different than delivering animals (down from the mountains now, and working as a foreman on a farm), and it'd be a whole lot cheaper than having the hospital do it. (There were 7 of us babies when it was all said and done, so I can sorta see his point) Yep, I was born at home, with my dad in charge.
When he decided that he was going to do something, he really went for it, with a single minded determination. When the doctors told him he was going to die, and there was not much they could do at that point; he decided he was going to live and not die. And for 13 more years he fought like the warrior he was. But he didn't just survive, he lived. He created a business and built a laboratory from scratch. He greeted 14 more grandchildren. And he was never alone, because he had a Rock to cling to. He followed God with the same kind of restless determination that drove everything else he did. For the next 13 years, I watched as he battled. And in the midst of it all, he became softer in some ways--the rough edges smoothed out.
As we were driving through the night to get to Tulsa, all I could think was that I wanted to say that it was okay. It was okay to stop fighting; okay to put down his sword and rest. That he had run the race, and done what was asked of him. My dad didn't get beat by cancer. Not even at the end. He just knew it was time to stop fighting and go home. You gave life a helluva shot, Dad. And I hope that I'm half as tough and brave as you were.
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