On Dec 4, 2014 I got a the dreaded call from my mother. “Tadd, Dad is gone …” It took a few moments for the news to sink in. Gone.
My father had been struggling with bone cancer. In the last twenty years he has lost both legs, suffered sever head trauma, has several open heart surgeries, and even died on the operating table once. Yet this time, he was gone. The old monster cancer took it’s toll. My dad was gone.
What transpired was a whirlwind of events. From the company I worked for showing complete support and care, to re-uniting with family and friends. And finally, saying goodbye.
The pastor who was leading the funeral asked me, “Do you want to prepare anything for the service?” I didn’t want to read it. I never would have gotten through. However, I was willing to write something and have it read. My father, the Godly man he was, deserved it. So, I penned together something. What follows is what was read. This is the measure of a person. What can be said at their funeral.
The body that is in that casket is not my dad. It’s only a physical manifestation of him.
We’ve all seen the smiles and heard his deep, belly laughs. We’ve all witnessed his mischievous grin when telling his jokes. But that’s just what was evidence on the outside of who he is.
Dad is more than what’s in that box.
Dad leaves us a fantastic legacy. His unstoppable spirit. His “can do” attitude that exuded in every facet of his life. His undeniable faith and love in God. His legacy is in the memories that we all share. Individually they’re small segments, glimpses, of this amazing person I had been honored and privileged to call my father. Together, as a whole, we can recall such an array of amazing things all revolving around my dad, Andrew Mencer, Jr.
And through honoring and celebrating his life we can realize quickly that he wasn’t just a young athlete, or a boy from a farm. He wasn’t just a soldier and a patriot for his country. We realize he wasn’t just a husband to a woman he absolutely adored, or a father to his children. He wasn’t just a businessman, or a manager, or a just a friend. He wasn’t just a grandfather to nine rambunctious grandkids.
He was a testament to God’s might, power, mercy, and love. He was a miracle who defied, through the power of Christ, the medical world at every turn.
And my dad’s legacy isn’t built on cold skyscrapers and mega-corporations. It’s built through the love for his family, friends, and most importantly his Savior, Christ Jesus.
And as believers in Christ’s gift of salvation, we know this world is not our home. It’s not the end. This isn’t goodbye. Dad isn’t dead. This is “see ya later”. My dad is now with his dad. With his mom, with his father-in-law and mother-in-law. And with his God.
I firmly believe my dad stands on perfect legs, on perfect feet. A great, big smile on his face ready to welcome us when God calls us home.
So, Dad. While we’re sad at this parting, we look forward to seeing you again at that time. We love you and cherish the memories we have with you. We cherish the wisdom and insight. Innovations and inspirations. And we’ll miss the smiles and laughter.
But we’ll see you soon. Love you, Dad.
Matthew 6:20-21 (NIV)
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20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.