I will never forget the day we were picnicing up in the field behind our house when Mark fell into the hot coals from our fire, landing on his hands. He was probably barely two at the time. Dad picked him up and ran for the house, jumping every fence. The thing that really stands out in my mind about the incident is that Dad always did for each of us what he felt we needed. He and Mom were our greatest advocates.
I live next door to my parents with my 2 brothers' homes just south of theirs and my sister to the east of me. People sometimes ask, "How can you stand to live that close to your family?" The answer: It's easy. We were taught to love and respect one another and to remember that family comes first, and that no "thing" is more important than that. This has been increasingly evidenced as we have taken care of necessary details since Dad's passing.
Color photos by Devin Caldwell
Dad taught me to be strong and to endure well; lessons I hope I will never forget. He passed away peacefully on March 7. He endured repeated kidney stones all of his adult life which brought about kidney failure after getting cancer. Though he was often in pain, he was not a complainer. Right to the end he said he was doing "great". His longevity was literally a miracle, and I'm grateful for the time we had together. I love him so much and miss him, though I am at peace. I am so grateful for the knowlege that we will meet again and to know that we are part of an eternal family.