by Kim Pillow
This past Father’s Day, of all days, I lost my father. I felt cheated; selfishly thinking to myself that I was robbed of any emotion other than mourning on any subsequent Father’s Day.
I am a Daddy’s girl, and to this day I can remember the road trip that solidified this. My dad’s dad had died. My mom was unable to attend the funeral in Warren, Arkansas because she was expecting my baby brother, Tom, and was on bed rest. My younger brother, Brad, was only 5 years old-- too young to sit still at the funeral. So, it was just me and my dad. Our first trip with just us; it was a kind of adventure for me.
Since I was only 10 years old, details about the trip have faded, but not a single emotion has been lost from my memory. As we started off in Daddy’s car, he referred
to us as the “Dynamic Duo”. From here on, this became the nickname that always described our relationship. I remember hearing daddy deliver the eulogy at the funeral home. I can still hear Daddy describing his dad as a fix-it man, and how his fondest memories were of him and his dad playing golf together. I can also see him getting emotional as he spoke of their past estranged relationship. I cried as I saw him cry. Afterwards, we continued to Mobile, Alabama for the burial. A much smaller crowd, all of which were strangers to me, that made the trip. I can still hear my dad reading from Revelation 21:1-6. I saw my dad as a grieving son. As I said before, this trip kicked off an extremely close father-daughter relationship.
Here are some of the things I miss most from the other half of the “Dynamic Duo”:
To say my dad loved sports was an understatement. He loved all sports, and particularly loved baseball and golf. That being said, Daddy translated this love for sports into his own life: he was a constant coach. He was never lacking for words of encouragement and advice. He was always trying to make me better. He was tough. He hated excuses. He was driven and knew that one would get better with practice. He was curious about all kinds of subjects. He was well read and absorbed several books each week. He was always striving to improve. He enjoyed a challenge. As Denise Richardson said a few years ago, “you don’t just meet Bill, you experience Bill!” His words always were pushing me to push for more and reach a goal. Attached is a video that showcases his coaching nature. Watch as he encourages a 2 year-old Kim Humbarger to blow out the candles on my cake. This would indicate the future of our relationship, always encouraging me with my timid nature to go forward. He believed in me.
Secondly, I will miss our conversations, and this may be what I miss most. He was so involved; he knew everything going on in my life, and was genuinely interested in the smallest details. He loved a family meeting, always giving us sermonettes. It was during my teenage years when I realized Bill really was in my corner. He was always there to listen to what was going on no matter how big or small. As a result, I did not want to disappoint him.
Lastly, and most important, my dad made sure that I was raised in a Christian household. We were not a perfect family by any means, but he taught me that grace was an unmerited favor, and mercy is the absence of getting what you deserve. He always told me to have an eternal perspective. As he often said, “This won’t mean a hill of beans in light of eternity!”
While preparing for the funeral several weeks ago, I shared with my dad’s pastor, Duncan Hoopes, the notes from my dad’s speech I heard in Warren, Arkansas 38 years prior. The transcript had been in a filing cabinet of mine as a keepsake. It was special to read his words. He confessed his sin of being stubborn with his father and spoke of regrets of things in his past. He also said he had given his life to Christ at the age of 26. He kept repeating, “I want my children to know...” “I want my children to know...” Daddy, we know. I love you.
3 John 1:4 says “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
As I said in my closing remarks at daddy’s funeral, it ended up being so fitting that Daddy would die on Father’s Day because he is now at rest and at peace with His Heavenly Father.
Thank you Daddy for all your coaching, deep conversations and most of all teaching me about the unconditional love of Christ! I love you and am so proud to have the title of your daughter.