You know him as Balladeer

August 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Posted in faith, family, inspiration, Life, love | 29 Comments
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As my regular readers know, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer many years ago. Together he and my mother kept him healthy and vital in spite of that illness for quite a long time. I posted a request for prayers back in late spring, and we received so many wonderful prayers and kind thoughts from you all. It meant quite a lot to me, and also to my family.

Dad’s physical condition began deteriorating several months ago, very noticeably and I knew what that meant though I never wanted to say it out loud, or even think it when I was speaking with him. We had news from his doctor back at the end of May that pointed even more to knowing that he did not have time. Remarkably, despite all of the evidence to the contrary my father continued to live with the outlook of a man who was getting well and would be well. He focused on living, and refused to grant credence to being someone who was dying.

Oh, Dad. My dear, sweet Dad.

A little over a week ago Mom took him to the doctor, and unfortunately the doctor had news to give him that he might only have one or two months left. He accepted that news, and then we all knew.

Last Friday his in-home hospice nurse told my brother that he, my sister and I should get to Denver as quickly as possible. I arrived a little past midnight that evening, my brother and sister arrived the next morning. Together the three of us and my mother cared for Dad with love, care, compassion … everything we had to give him during the last hours of his life.

Sunday evening he passed, with all four of us with him surrounding him with love.

Oh Dad, my sweet, sweet Dad.

We are giving him a memorial service Friday evening; my brother and sister and I are doing the entire service ourselves and so we are here with Mom taking care of her, helping her, and working together to create a memorial service befitting a great man who we all loved and treasured so very much.

I wrote a tribute for him, and I would like to share some of it here with you because so many of you have shared prayers and concerns for our family. If you ever noticed a reader nicknamed “Balladeer” who left comments on my blogs, that was my Dad. It seemed he could never express his love and admiration for my work, my creativity, and accomplishments enough. He told me a whole back that when he wrote his praises, he tried to write them with a sense of poetry and he did. I used to receive these wonderful expressive emails from him every time I posted a blog, stating how much he loved and admired the posts and the photographs. I have every one of those emails and will cherish them always.

His focus was on living, never on dying. So, I want to share these thoughts with you on his life as I saw him … Dad, through my eyes.

To most people who knew him, Dad became first and foremost, friend. His friendly attitude came from a place of love and caring about his fellow man.  He cared more than most people I know about the condition of mankind and he dedicated much of his life to trying to do something about it.

More than anything else in life, my father wanted to help. Whether by ministering to those in need, helping his children through problems in life, writing stories and poems, or dreaming up an invention for a device to resolve the gas problem: help was his main concern. And his desire to help came from his extraordinary capacity to love.

His children and grandchildren were his pride and joy. When any one of us needed help of any kind, Dad could not get to the front of the line fast enough to offer whatever he had or could otherwise offer.

He worried about and tried to help me with my life to the point of annoyance at times, but luckily for me I did realize quite a number of years ago there would be a day when those things that annoyed me then would be sorely missed, and so I learned to embrace instead of resist his endeavors.

Over the course of his life he  worked as a minister, both officially and as a layman … always because of that sincere desire to help others.

Dad wrote a screenplay, many poems, and various short stories all with the goal in mind of communicating hope and pointing the way toward philosophical truths … born of his wish to help.

He had many, many dreams, some of them quite large and fantastic. His dreams, without fail, had to do somehow with bringing benefit to as many people as possible. Not many people are brave enough to dream as big as my Dad could dream.  He was very open with others about those dreams and pursued them steadfastly, sometimes at great personal sacrifice.

His tenacity in pursuing his dreams against any and all odds, undaunted by barriers that would have caused others to turn back, was very admirable.  And his sincere desire to help was the wellspring feeding that tenacity.

Over the course of his life Dad gathered many, many friends.  He and Mom were beloved by an ever widening circle of friends, they made them every place they went.  He always took time to speak to people in all walks of life, telling his stories, sharing his smile, and demonstrating to others they were important to him.

The other day Mom and I were making our way through the grocery store, and it seemed every employee we came across knew Dad and Mom personally. Mom shared the news of Dad’s passing and each person had a story of how Dad’s love and kindness had affected them and what a good man they knew him to be because of the friendship and care he had extended their way.

As they shared these stories, I realized something important about both of my parents: they had a way of turning any place they went into a small town.

We were close since I was a small child, and for me, he was my lifelong best friend.

Dad, thank you for all of the help and guidance you gave me, even if at times I was too hard headed or foolish to accept it.

Thank you also for the unconditional, boundless love you took every opportunity to express and demonstrate.   No one loved us each quite as you did.  I am going to miss your smile, your phone calls, your hugs and most of all … I’m going to miss my friend.

I want to end this post with a poem he wrote; I know he would want me to share this poem with my readers. Please, some time buy a copy of his poetry book (“I, The Wind” — there is a link somewhere on the right hand side of the page).

I don’t say that because I want to sell books, I say it because his poetry is quite fine and is always of a spiritual nature. I promised him a little while before he passed that I would do all I can to make his writing known and make sure people get his poems and read them. They are eBooks and Kindle books so they don’t cost much. I also can’t give the books away, because I promised him I would make sure to generate supplemental income for my mother from royalties on his book sales. Please, do understand I primarily want people to have an opportunity to receive the help and the love he meant to come your way.

And, by the way, I have used photographs to illustrate this blog that I shot on the farm on glorious, windy autumn morning. The sun had just risen and golden morning light was being captured by every tree in the land, reflected back to the world in beautiful glowing golden flowing light. Dad loved the photography from that morning (of course he loved any and all photography of our farm) and I thought it would be perfect to use those photos for you today.

Here is his poem, “I, The Wind”:

I, The Wind

Sand dunes and valleys
Shores of the sea,
Mountains and rivers,
Snow covered peaks,
Far as eyes see…
All some part of me.

For I am the wind…
I cover all space…
On without limits I go,
For me there’s no end…
Of beginnings, no trace.
I, the wind, know it’s so.

Once when a body;
Couldn’t be free.
Knew death would come soon…
no trace of me.
So it is gone now,
I am more free.

For I am the wind…
I cover all space…
On without limits I go.
For me there’s no end…
Of beginnings, no trace.
I, the wind, know it’s so.

~ Herbert S.
(aka pen name Albert Zudfin)


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  1. Your email and blog post has brought tears to my eyes as mortality in general rears it’s menacing head, yet again. My dad had always a youthful look and I have inherited that from him. The years are showing on both of us, affecting my own vanity and the perspective I had always seen my dad with. Always feeling close to him, I remember the first time I saw the change and my first realization that he will not be with us (really ME) forever. I won’t go into it at length, but just know that I am feeling for you. My prayers will be said for you and your family. Your dad, as I’m confident you already know, will always be in your life and in the sunlight and the trees it lights up….

    BTW, forgive me if I’m mistaken, but I could swear that you posted your dad’s poem a while back…. It’s beautiful.

  2. My dear Firefly, I am so very sorry to hear your very sad news. I can sympathise a little as my husband passed away in March after a long struggle with cancer. I pray that your Mom, you, and all the family will be comforted and supported by our loving heavenly Father at this time. With love, Chrissie

  3. His photo illustrates your words, a kind and generous face. I agree, you are a fortunate woman to have such a father, who will be eager to have you and your family one day share with him the joy of resurrection in Christ. Requiescat in pace.

  4. Why is life so short for the truly good people and seems to go on forever for those who give nothing and take whatever they can from others? I too had a father who was loving and kind not only to those close to him but to a stranger off the street, I will remember him and feel his closeness forever and so will you we are the fortunate one’s to have had the joy of knowing such a person rejoice in it and be glad he will live in your heart from now on until you are reunited once more in heaven.

    I know your sadness and I pray for you and your family, I will be thinking of you tomorrow and sending my prayers out to you all.

    My blessings, Sally

  5. Don’t know you personally, but feel I do through your blogs…your dad’s passing reminded me of my dad also…surrounded by those who loved him. The nurse told us each to speak to him because the hearing is the last to go. So sorry to hear about your handsome dad. I share your sorrow. Suzanne

  6. May you find solace in Kahlil Gibran’s words: “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

  7. I am so sorry to hear of your and your families loss. A father is such an important person in the families life. He has given you great gifts, which you use wisely. You can see the world through the beauty of his eyes and capture those moments of time with your words and photos. Yes, your father is special…he gave us you. It is such a blessing to know that he is now resting in the arms of his Heavenly Father.
    God bless you and your family.

  8. I love your writing i find it so comforting, even as you write about your father passing on. He is still with you an Angel above. I am sorry for your loss and i admire your strength and words..
    Fan and fellow Knitter

  9. Oh, Jackie – I’m so sorry for your great loss. The lessons your Dad taught you will never leave you – you will continue to be a tribute to him and his life as will your children & grandchildren. I’ll continue to hold you & your whole family in prayer as you mourn his loss and move on to the next song of the balladeer…MARY

  10. I am so sorry for your loss. I know it only too well when my Dad’s spirit left his body and I, as promised would be there for him. Same cause, different Dads different people but so loved for their contributions and talents. It’s been eight years for me and I still miss him.
    Your ‘wounds” are still raw. It takes a while.
    May your spiritual beliefs and family be of comfort to you at this time.
    Thank you for sharing your grief with us mere unknown mortals who so enjoy your expressions in all the many art forms.

  11. My dear Jackie,
    I’m so sorry for you and your family, your Dad seems like someone I would have loved to have known. I will share with you that I lost my Pop 2 yrs ago this coming December. I still have messages on my voicemail that I have not deleted some I haven’t been able to even listen to as yet. I hear his voice and I’m in tears and lost all over again. I lost my only brother (2 yrs older than me) in Jan of 2009, then my step-mother on the day I had a total knee transplant in May of 2019, then Pop the following Dec. I am lucky that I have my Mom living with me, she is reasonable healthy (thank you Lord) has major difficulty walking or sitting up very long but is a sweet spirit. I read your Dad’s poem and your words to her, she was in tears. We both were. My prayers are with you and yours during this time. Trust and believe, I still hear my Pop’s voice sometimes, especially when I’m in the veggie garden, but it always a reassuring moment. (He was a fantastic gardener) Holing you in prayers, Marianne

  12. Sending love, and hoping that the love your dad released into this world will come back to comfort you in his absence.

  13. I am sorry for your loss. I have not been able to check email for a while as my mother is also receiving hospice care at home. “I the Wind” touched me deeply. I believe my mom will go to God sometime very soon. That is her wish. Thank you for sharing and helping me through it. Hugs to you.

  14. My heart goes out to you Jackie. A father such as yours was the greatest of gifts life can bestow. I will keep you and your mother and rest of the family in my prayers. How Blessed you are to have such a lovely family and memories. Much love to you. Cecelia

  15. Simply wonderful, brought tears to my eyes & a smile when reading of his helping you, I could relate. His poem is beautiful. It seems to be customary in my family that I write about the person we’ve lost at the funeral. It is a very healing thing to do. Tak care Jackie, I’ll be thinking of you this evening & thank you for sharing, Susan.

  16. Beautiful poem, wonderful tribute to your father, your friend who will live for ever in the hearts of those who loved him.
    Carol xx

  17. I am sorry for your loss. He is going to accompany you in your life forever! His poem is beautiful.

  18. Takes part of us and leaves part of him for many I see. Beautiful poem. What would we do without the artists????

  19. Please accept my deepest sympathies for the loss of your father and friend. How blessed you were to have that relationship with him. How you must cherish his book and the memories each poem brings to you. My prayers to you and your family as you begin your journey of healing.

  20. Very sorry for the loss of your beloved Dad. I am sure he is making Heaven a better place by being there.

  21. Dear Firefly i am so sorry for the loss of your father what a great man sometimes life just is not fair, Tonight you and your family will be in my prayers take care god bless from Ireland

  22. Dear Firefly,
    Yes it’s very sad news and I hope each day will bring a little more comfort to you. Of course you will never forget the love you and your family had for him and he for you. You are in my thoughts.

  23. So sorry for the loss of your father. It will be 10 years this December that I lost my father. I’m so glad you could get there in time to be with him, I wasn’t so lucky, but am thankful now that he went without suffering more than he already had. I also have my father’s voice on an answering machine, and listen to the message every so often just to hear that voice. I will tell you it does get easier, but It will be a while. Take the time to really mourn and realize life goes on around you. It’s hard to always understand that everyone goes on with their lives and sometimes that can be a hard thing to understand and not be upset about. I love your blog and thank you for that.

  24. Firefly, I too share your loss. I lost my mother in May when she was just shy of her 99th birthday. It is had to say good-bye to a parent. They always seem that they should stay forever. Take your time for mourning and remember the good and bad time that you were privileged to share. My middle grandson and Mom (Gramma Dee) almost shared a birthday and got to celebrate 6 of them together, something both of us remember. You are now the one who will tell the family stories to your grands thus allowing to know the great man that was your father. Peace to you and your family. Phyl Ann

  25. May the God of all comfort wrap you in His everlasting arms.


  26. Thank you for sharing… a really moving post.

  27. I am sorry to read about the loss of your dad. I haven’t been reading or updating my blog often and today decided to get online and have a look and your blog was the first I visited. I have always enjoyed visiting your blog. I loved the poem your dad wrote. Thank you for sharing with everyone.

  28. Dearest Jackie and family , our most sincere condolensce to you all . What a wonderful friend , life teacher and father .
    For those of us who sadly have also said goodbye to our parents , it affects us all so very differnetly ~ yet we all grieve the same in our hearts.

    I often go to pick up the phone and call my folks then I remember ……it has been some years now they have been gone and that big hole , big gaping hole over the years is filled with memories , you may find yourself laughing somewhere because something reminds you of your wonderful Father or a scent will bring a smile and a tear sometimes , or the colour and beauty an Autumn day …….the colours are the palette he and your Mom gave you when you were born and just look at what you have created with it .

    You still will create and a little of Dad may pop into some of your many creations , may I say embrace it . There does come a time where those that have gone before us , it seems like they are just in the next room and that is of such comfort it isn’t an easy place to reach , do speak of your father often as I know your family and friends all will it is such a tonic for the spirit , it keeps them always for ever alive and there are days still where I wish ………just another word , seeing them finally at rest and peace , they were called to go ~ and the relief on their faces was I can’t find the words , relaxed and no more pain …..our pain remains from all of our losses I know you will tresure and honour your Father and take very fine care of your Mom.
    Sincerely Briar.

  29. I’m so sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I see that you’ve not been here for a while and can only imagine. Please know that as much as I cannot imagine what you must feel like, I am sending you my best. I’ve been around for years reading without saying much, but please know you are in my thoughts. Best to you and your family, always.

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