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Death Has Come

Since I last wrote, I have buried my father. Standing at his bedside I said, “Daddy, thank you. I love you.” In a short time, the Angels came to take him Home. 

Fifteen years ago, on my 50th birthday in the year 2000, I wrote a tribute to him. Today, in his honor, I share the tribute with you.

Dear Daddy,

Today is my 50th birthday, and my heart is overflowing with joy and thanksgiving. When I count my blessings, I begin by acknowledging that you are my Daddy. No doubt, I owe my life to you, and I want to thank you. Long before I was conscious of the reality, you loved me, cared for me, and sacrificed for me. 

Thank you for always choosing to spend time with me. When it would have been so much easier to do a job alone, you elected to have me at your side. In those times, you taught me volumes of valuable lessons and life skills. From you I learned life’s richest treasures cannot be purchased. You taught me the honor and discipline of hard work, the joy and satisfaction in a job well done.

You conveyed a love for nature, and a deep appreciation for God’s vast Handiwork. Caring for little lambs paved the way for me to meet The Lamb of God. Thank you. Even today, my heart is warmed to remember waking up as a 5 year old after my tonsillectomy to fine you sitting beside my hospital bed. You were holding a gift for me, a picture puzzle from the Bible of David the shepherd boy. 

Daddy, thank you for always taking me to church, for it was there I first heard the Gospel. You faithfully modeled obedience to the Lord in honoring Sunday as a Day of Rest. I cherish your godly example. And I know, beyond a doubt, my love for the hymns of the faith comes from the appreciation you gave me for those “milk shed specials.”

The hours spent in the barn, in the woods, in the saddle, or in the truck all made me feel I was loved, and I was of great worth to you. Being your daughter, you took great care to teach me the intricate differences between hunting ducks, hunting quail, and hunting deer. The memory of hearing you say, “Get your gun and let’s go to the woods,” still makes me smile. 

I have the sweetest collection of memories: going on road trips to Texas, attending rodeos and livestock shows, taking vacations to Florida, traveling Out West, cheering side-by-side at Mississippi State football games, building our model battleship together. And you were always available to help me with my school projects, whether it was a collection of tree bark, a display of Native American relics, or presentation of insects. 

Respect for authority has served me well. I learned this first from you. Thank you for instilling in me the importance of going out of one’s way to speak to people, the significance of calling people by name, the value of smiling and looking an individual in the eye. The commitment of keeping one’s word was of utmost importance to you. Though it seems to be a lost principle in today’s world, it is alive in me, thanks to you.

I am grateful, Daddy, that you served our country in World War II to insure that my world would be free. After all these years of living and working as a missionary in Eastern Europe and Russia, I am moved beyond expression to value our freedom.

Yes, it is my 50th birthday, but it is to you that I say, “Thank you.” James 1:17 states, “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.” No doubt, one of my greatest gifts in life is the blessing of being your daughter. Thank you for loving me, providing for me, and for always making me so proud to say, “This is my Daddy.”

                                                            In loving memory 

                                                        Harold Louis Coleman,Sr.

                                                  October 24, 1925 - April 21, 2016