My dad, Ray Thompson, went home to heaven tonight. I'm so sad, and missing him already, but I am also grateful for the years he was my dad. He gave me love and acceptance, believed in me, and was always in my corner. He laughed with me, and loved my son, his grandson, Joseph, to the nth degree.
Dad never met a stranger and had a twinkle in his eye and a story to tell anyone who came near. I loved everything about my dad. He knew the Lord. Worked hard. Loved his kids and family, and lived out his faith in practical and helpful ways.
We shared a love of books...the Sunday comics...the newspaper...the Cleveland Indians...and tempers that flare like a quick summer shower and then dissipate just as quickly. Dad was one of those guys who loved playing games with his kids. He took us on hikes and pitched the whiffle ball to us in the backyard. He loved to travel and loved museums and history. We drove fifty miles out of the way once just to see Nancy Hanks' memorial marker because she was Abraham Lincoln's mother. (Wish I had the silly picture he took of us three kids leaning happily and jokingly against that marker.)
Dad knew everything about the woods and survival, and I often said that if I had to be stranded anywhere, I'd want to be stranded with Dad. He knew how to build a shelter out of wet moss and how to find food in a desert.
The best thing about my dad was his smile and his laugh. I will miss that the most. No matter how bad things got, Dad found a way to smile. His childhood was terribly hard, but he smiled. He whistled his way through life.
I don't want to say goodbye. I don't want to not feel his strong hands in mine. I don't want to not see his white birdie hair, or not hear him call my name. But I live with no regrets. He was fully my dad and I was fully his girl, every day of our lives together. And in both of our hearts, that's the way it will always be. I love you, Dad. Muchly. See you in heaven someday!