Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Dad

James H. Leppold
October 17, 1940-August 29, 2008
This is my Dad. My sister took this picture on the beach trip this year, and this was the last picture taken of him. It is appropriate that he was on the water, the Gulf, which he loved so much.

In the last few days I've been asked to describe my father so that he could be memorialized by many people who never knew him. And no matter what I said or what I wrote, it just never seemed to be enough. If you had asked him, he would not have thought he was a remarkable man. But if you had asked anyone who had known him, you would have known differently. He believed in living life right, making the right choices, because in the end it would come back to you. One of his favorite tv shows was My Name is Earl. Karma was an easy word to put on how my Dad lived his life. That was something that he and my Mother taught my sister and me.

My parents celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary in April. And even though there were times that they fought or didn't see eye to eye, underneath it all their love for one another always held. As a child of their marriage, there was never a day that I doubted how much my Father loved my Mother, and Mother, my Father.

He was a wonderful father. A man of his generation, he worked hard at a job that he enjoyed (most of the time) and provided very well for his family. And I have an endless number of memories of my Father and how much he loved me. He was proud of all my accomplishments. One that he most enjoyed was my quilting and sewing. It amazed him how I picked up the hobby only a few years ago and was constantly impressed by all the things I produced (my Mom didn't sew). He was always quick to show people the newest thing I had created for him and was looking forward to coming to my guild's quilt show in September. And even though he and Hubbie did the typical "Alpha Male Dog Dance" when it came to planning family events, he loved my husband.

Of course all the love he felt for my Mother, sister, and myself, was only surpassed by how he felt about his Lily, Rose, and Emma. He adored the girls...the little girls, as he called them. A man who spent the majority of his life surrounded by women knew how to appeal to the littlest of the family. All they had to do was bat those eyelashes and "Please Paw Paw" and their wish was his command. This extended to skipping naps, bags and bags of M&Ms, sharing buffalo wings with Lily, making a pretend campfire a reality (setting his grass on fire in the process -- long story), and gads and gads of other special things.

My heart is broken. I will miss him terribly.

Thank you to everyone who has kept my family in their thoughts and prayers in the last two months. You will never know how much it has helped in some of the darkest moments.


Doris said...

Oh, Melissa, this post touched me beyond words. My Dad passed away very suddenly ten years ago, his heart gave out at the age of 59 (he was born March 21, 1938 and your father looks strikingly like him at first glance). He was very much the same kind of man as your dear father, not remarkable, but remarkable in every way that counts. The pain of losing a parent is so intense...I am praying for you and your family. I wish you peace and comfort.

Paige said...

From one "Daddy's Girl" to another, my heart breaks for you. I know how much you loved him and how much he loved you. I hope that loving experience will comfort you for the rest of your life.

Shannon said...

What a wonderful tribute! May your strength and the love of family and friends help guide you through this impossible time.

Jacquie said...

my guess is your dad would love this and be so proud. i've got tears running down my face...such a touching tribute. what a blessing to have had him in your life.

Kate said...

I've tried to respond to this post several times but haven't been able to find the right words. I loved your dad simply because of how much he loved his family and most importantly your children, that love was present and obvious every time I was around him. I look forward to helping you keep his memory alive for the girls through all the wonderful and outrageous family stories that we all love and know by heart.