Jun 15, 2014

Father's Day - My Dad's Hands!

I wasn't going to do it. 

I wasn't going to think about him today.

I just figured if I did my best to smile and laugh and think about positive things that today wouldn't hurt so much. I thought if I just didn't think about him,  I could make it through it.  

I lied to myself.

I stumbled on a photo of my dad this morning and realized I can't ignore it.  He may not be with me in flesh and body but he is in my heart and his love and influence is still blessing me everyday.  So, as a tribute to him, here are the words I shared at his funeral just 10 months ago.

August 2013 - Funeral Talk by Amy Williams
This past week as condolences started to come in, it was no surprise that the word I heard most to describe my dad was “Kind”.  Many people remember him as being a “kind” man.  And he was.   As I thought about what I wanted to share today, I wanted to express how that kindness affected me and how I remember his kindness coming out in the things he did and how he used his hands.

The first deep-rooted, bonding experience that I remember having with my dad was when I was 9 years old.  It was a time of a lot of sorrow and worry as my mom had just died and I can only image that my Dad must have had the weight of the world on his shoulders as he worried about caring for his family, maintaining a job, and being a single parent.  Not to mention, the heartache of losing his companion was great.  One day, upon returning home from somewhere my dad asked us kids to go on ahead of him into the house, he just wanted to sit in the car for a bit.  We all got out of the car and I was just about to go into the house when I felt like I wanted to stay with him instead.  I went back to the car and asked him, if I was really, really quiet, and if I held still, if I could just sit in the car with him.  I have daughters that are not much older than the age I was at the time so I know how difficult it is for a 9 year old to sit still and be quiet and I’m sure my dad really didn’t want me to stay, but he said “yes” anyway and for about 30 minutes, we sat without speaking in our car and he held my hand the whole time.  My dad reaching for my hand and holding it told me that it was ok for me to be there.  Without saying words, he used his hands to tell me I was loved.

From that point on, my dad’s hands became a symbol of love.  Here are a few other memories I have of him using his hands for my benefit.

When I was 12, and just getting settled into our new life in Taylor, my dad knew I was worried about making friends and one day, despite being told to do my chores, over and over, when the call came from a girl in the ward to go somewhere with her, my dad told me to go and told me he would do my chores for me.  This was significant to me because I remember him already having a lot of stuff to do of his own, yet he knew I needed a friend so he sacrificed his time to help me out.  That day, his hands did my work but they taught me also to be willing to carry someone else’s burden whenever I could.

I remember being 19 and about to get married, I had really wanted an outdoor reception and remember both his and Merleen's hands working for months in our yard to get it ready for my reception. With every flower planted or weed pulled, I knew it was for my benefit and I felt their love.

I remember being 24 and driving from Salt Lake to Taylor to find my dad.  I had news I was so excited to share. I remember clearly his hands shaking with joy as he looked at the black and white ultrasound photo.  He was happy for Kent and I as we were starting a family of our own.  His shaking hands taught me to share in other people's joy.

I remember being 27 and watching my dad’s hands work again for my benefit, this time though, there was sadness in those hands as he helped me pack up a moving truck so I could make a long distant move.  It was a move that he didn’t want me to make and I know it was really hard for him to understand why we had to move so far away but he still supported us - his working hands that day seemed heavier but he still supported me and my decisions and taught me about unconditional love.

I remember being 29 and far away from home.  Him and Merleen where about to leave on a mission and I was about to give birth to my twins.  It was so hard to be so far away from him and to know that because of the distance and the timing, that I probably wouldn’t see him, nor would he meet my daughters, for two years.  I was really sad about that but the night before I was scheduled to go in to give birth we had a late night visitor show up on our door step in Maine.  I remember opening the door at 11 o'clock at night and seeing his hands holding a bouquet of flowers for me.  I didn’t know he was coming but I knew right then, that because he was there and the love that was in his hands as he wrapped them around my shoulders, that everything was going to be ok. He hands taught me about comforting others.   

Just a few days after my daughters were born, there was a concern that one of them was deaf.  I remember so clearly the peace I felt as he and my husband laid their hands on her head and gave her a priesthood blessing.  I’ve often wondered how many heads have had the honor of having my dad’s hands placed on them.  He used his hands many times to give blessings of comfort and healing to so many.  He hands taught me to serve God.

His hands helped.

His hands blessed others.

His hands taught by example.

Two weeks ago, I saw kindness come from his one last time as I opened up a birthday card.  My dad always took the time to send everyone cards and once again, like so many times before, he had written a very personal message that was filled with love.  This time though, I noticed his hand writing was not as crisp, instead it was quite shaky and it look labored but his love was in those words.  His hands taught me that an encouraging word can make some one's day and let them know of their worth.

Then last week, I saw my dad’s hand do something that I have never seen before.  As he laid in the hospital bed, his hands were still.

For me, as sad as it was, there was still love there.  I was able to, much like when I was 9 and sitting in the car with him, I was able to sit by his bed, in silence, and hold his hand for one last time.

My dad’s hands were always filled with love, they were always working, they were always willing to serve.  They were a source of comfort.  And, they were always kind. 

I only hope that I can carry on his legacy and that I can use my hands to live a life as filled with kindness and love just like his was.

I love you dad!  Always!