By Mark Legendre
A few days before Father’s Day in June of 1988, I purchased a card for my Father. I had first intended to bring this card to him the day before Father’s Day on Saturday. But something came up and I didn’t get to bring it by that day. So I thought to myself that after services Sunday morning, my family and I would drive over to his house and spend some time with him on his special day. It would be a drive of about thirty minutes. But I talked myself out of doing this also by saying that I needed my afternoon nap so that I would be fresh to preach that night. So I decided that I would call my Father that night after services and wish him a Happy Father’s Day and then I would go over to his house tomorrow and give him his card at that time. But again for whatever reason I failed to make it by that day also.
As the days passed I had intended on several occasions to stop by his house to visit with him and Mom. But, after it had only been about two weeks since I had seen them. I had stopped by to show them the new car that I had recently purchased. And even though the car was two years old, my Mom and Dad were really proud for me to have that new automobile. And we had a good visit while I was there. But again this was about two weeks before Father’s Day. And so Father’s Day came and went and I had not taken the time to even call my Father and wish him a Happy Father’s Day. But then again Dad was never much for occasions like that so I thought that it probably didn’t mean that much to him that I had not stopped by or called.
By now it was closing in on the end of June and even though I had gone into town where my parents lived on a couple of occasions to pay some bills or to stop at the shopping mall, I never found the time to get by to see my Mom and Dad and to give Daddy his much overdue Father’s Day card. I felt bad about so much time having passed, but I joked with myself that when I finally give my Father his Father’s Day card, that I would tell him that I intentionally waited to give him his card late so that it would be the only one he was getting at the time and would therefore be more special. (Ha Ha!)
The 4th of July was now approaching and this would be the opportunity to finally give my Dad his Father’s Day card. But my wife was off that day and we spent the day together with our daughter doing various things. Needless to say, I did not get by to see my parents again. The 4th of July fell on a Monday and my wife and I decided that the following weekend we would go to see her parents since it had been nearly two months since we had visited with them. (They lived about two hours away.) I was going to pick her up Friday evening from her job and we would drive straight to her parents house from there. And since she worked in Beaumont where my parents lived, I made up my mind that this time for sure I would stop by and see Mom and Dad as I came to pick up my wife. And then I would give him his much-much overdue Father’s Day card.
The 4th of July came and went. The Wednesday after the 4th of July I had to. run into Beaumont to pay a bill. I thought to myself that I would go ahead and stop by today to visit my parents instead of waiting until Friday. But I talked myself out of that by saying that I had to get back to my office and finish my preparation for Wednesday night Bible Class. And I also reasoned that I was going to stop by that Friday anyway and that would be soon enough. The next day was Thursday and I was as “busy as a bee” at my office with various things when the telephone rang. It was about 4:30 that afternoon. The phone call was from my sister-in-law who informed me that my Father had just had a “heart attack” and had been rushed to St. Elisabeth’s Hospital. She told me that I needed to get there as quickly as I could. Early the next morning around 2:30 a.m., the nurse came and informed us that our Father had passed away. They had done all that they could to keep him alive and we were able to go and see him the previous evening in the Intensive Care Unit, though he was unconscious and unable to respond in any way. We all took turns that evening saying to Daddy how much we loved him, although we are not sure, nor will we ever know, just how much he might have been able to hear.
The funeral was to be the following Monday afternoon. What a tragedy that this would be the first time any of my family had ever heard me speak. You see, my Father was a member of the Catholic Church and so were most of my brothers and sisters. I was fortunate in that the Catholic priest allowed me to speak at my Father’s funeral and I was able to express on behalf of my family just how wonderful a Father we had had. God gave me the strength to make it through that very difficult day.
You might be wondering what happened to the Father’s Day card that I had purchased six weeks earlier. I placed it inside my Father’s coffin the last time that I saw him before he was buried.
Happy Father’s Day Daddy! I love you very much. To everyone who might eventually read this article please remember the Scripture in Proverbs 27:1 which says, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” It rings more loudly in my ears than ever before.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 13, p. 401
July 6, 1989