As a boy, he didn't go to church. I'm not sure when he began to attend services, but I'm sure my mother had something to do with it. He always said he didn't have a life until she was in it. I remember attending church with my parents as I was growing up, but it wasn't an every Sunday kind of thing. It wasn't until I had a family of my own that my parents became regular church goers. That's what sparked my memory yesterday as I sat in church, listening to the choir and recalling the many Sundays in his later life that my dad's voice was lifted in their church choir.
He was very proud of his service to the church, and of my mother being elected an elder there. He never missed a Sunday to don his robe and sing. After my mother died, he continued that habit and, at his funeral service, I was touched that the choir he had been a part of for many years sang a tribute to him.
What made me think of this yesterday was because it was the anniversary of his death. Twelve years he's been gone from this earth. I look at the photo of my mother and father every day, and still miss them both with an aching that can only be understood by those who have experienced the loss of a beloved parent. I miss his laugh, his arms around me in a bear hug, and his words of fatherly wisdom. He was a difficult man to live with; quick-tempered and stubborn, but I never doubted that he loved me - he showed me how in a myriad of ways that still bring tears to my eyes.
As I offered up a prayer in church yesterday, I thanked God for giving my dad the gift of song. It was such a special part of his life, and I still imagine him singing up above. That's an image that serves his legacy well.