Celebrating the Life of

by Susan Schealer Austin - Daughter

    I’ve sat in front of this blank page for a long time now, trying to decide how to sum up the impact my father has had on my entire life into a brief writing that will still fully communicate the love, respect, and adoration I will always have for him.  Praying, and thanking God for the nearly 57 years He has allowed me to share with my Dad.

    My father instilled in me, from my earliest memories, traits that I try to live by: a fierce love for my God and Savior, compassion, honesty, doing things right the first time, a strong work ethic, reliability, forgiveness, acceptance of everyone, and a respect for others, as well as a true love of nature and the beauty of all of God’s creation, truly thankful for all things. Reminding us, as needed, of a saying of his mother: “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”

    He and Mother raised us to be “color-blind”, and non-judgmental, as well as giving us true and sincere unconditional love.  When we became adults, they never told us what to do or gave advice without us asking for it.  I learned to try to consider the feelings and needs of others first as I watched the way they both lived their lives.  Though I fall short often, it is no fault of theirs.

    I will never be able to put into words how thankful I am for the life that I have. It would never have been possible but for my father and mother.  (It is impossible to mention my father without including my mother – they were always a pair.  I was 30 years old before I even realized that they ever disagreed.  And that was not because I witnessed it, but because my mother told me, “Of course we disagree, we’re human, we just don’t do it when anyone’s around” - a response when I mentioned that THEY NEVER argued and bemoaning to her the fact that I was not a respectful wife, often arguing with my husband.)

    Whenever I picture them together, they are always holding hands and smiling. My Dad’s sense of humor is one of the many things I admired so very much.  (Dear God, please hold my Mother’s hand for Dad until she joins him for eternity.) One story I love was several years ago when they were going into a Sam’s club, (or something similar), where he was several yards ahead of her, to show their membership card and secure a grocery cart for her to hold onto, making it easier for her to walk.  He said to the club employed woman; “Would you please see if you can get me the phone number of that beautiful woman behind me, I’d REALLY like to talk to her.”  You can imagine my mom’s confusion when she was asked for her phone number, but, knowing my Dad so well, she fully understood when the lady revealed to her that the gentleman ahead of her wanted it for himself!

    I love you, Daddy.  Life on this planet will never be the same without you here to share it with.  Oh, how my selfish, human heart aches to hear him say “Hello, Susie!” as he did whenever he saw me or answered my phone calls.  Yet, my spirit is SO very thankful Dad is now sharing his life with our God and Savior until we join him for all of eternity.  And, as Dad said so often at the beginning of a prayer: Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thank you God, for my earthy father.

    Bye for now, Dad.  Thank-you with all of my heart and soul for the gift you have always been to my life.  You gave me life and so VERY much more – even my curly hair!

I’ll love you forever,