Until Dad, men of honor did not exist in my home. Until Dad, men worthy of their priesthood did not exist in my home. Until Dad, masculine strength tempered by love did not exist in my home. When he came into our lives we were a scarred and battered family. My mother, my brother, two sisters and I were touched deeply by this man who became our father in every sense of the word. I think I can say, with a surety, that I know the difference a good man can make in the home.
First, is the power that comes with a worthy priesthood holder. When Dad came into our family we suddenly had someone to turn in times of illness, sorrow and tragedy. Priesthood blessings of healing and comfort became common place, but not common. A certainty came into each of our hearts, which grew each time Dad gave us a blessing.
After every blessing Dad would take my face in his hands and place a gentle kiss on the bridge of my nose. With tears filling his eyes he would always spend the next 20 to 30 minutes explaining what had been said in the blessing, what he had seen and what he had understood. We would talk about the revelation which had poured forth and would discuss our thoughts and understanding of the words which had been shared. To this day, I miss this. Oh, how I miss this.
Second, the certainty which comes from watching Dad treat my mother with love, respect, honor and devotion. Suddenly, instead of disdain or downright abuse, I saw the way a man was really supposed to treat his wife. I was able to witness how a husband was really supposed to act for the next 27 years. Because of him I knew I deserved a man who would love me the way Dad loved my mother. I knew that I would settle for nothing less. Had Dad not come into my life when I was 17 years of age I'm not certain what kind of man I would have ended up with, considering the example I'd had until then.
There is no question in my mind that I waited for Alvin because he reminded me of the kind of man my father was, a loving and honorable husband.
Third, with my father and mother I truly began to understand the scope of the eternal family. Until they married on November 8, 1980 . . . I was part of a fractured family. Oh, we were strong in the Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). We had rock solid testimonies, there's no doubt about that. We were happy. We lived our lives according to the principles, practices and precepts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But we were fractured.
Before Dad and Mom decided to marry, my mother went to work every single day to put food on the table. Then she would come in the door, exhaustion weighing down every bone, make dinner, take care of us kids, do the laundry, clean and fall into bed. My mother, what an amazing woman she was then and is now. Looking back I see the deep and abiding love she had for us that she never gave up, never gave in and never walked away from us. Because of the kind of woman she was, she attracted my father. And because of the kind of man he was, he attracted my mother. Yet another powerful lesson taught to their children.
I am the woman I am today because of the husband he was to my mother and the father he was to me. His last words to me, before slipping into unconscious and then death, still ring in my head. Struggling to breathe with the tumor crowding his abdomen and chest and a faint smile on his face, he whispered to me, "Super daughter." He patted me on the face and kissed the bridge of my nose one last time. Hours later he was dead.
I miss him, this father of my heart. For in him I learned what a real man was. The world may say we don't need fathers in the home. But as for one who has been there, I couldn't disagree more. A righteous man in the home is one of God's greatest gifts given to the children of man, as is a righteous woman. Thank you, Daddy, for being the man you were. You've touched more lives than you can ever know.
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