Day 93/365 No Hard Feelings

Here we are, our first Father’s Day without dad. It’s a heartbreaker, but I take comfort in knowing that he left this Earth as a grateful man who loved well and was well loved. A person can’t really ask for more, in my opinion. 

Today I wanted to share a bit of what I said at dad’s funeral. My brothers and I stood up on the alter together, each sharing our thoughts about dad. Afterward, we played a song called “No Hard Feelings” by The Avett Brothers. I included the lyrics below. 

Happy Father’s Day 

Dad understood that the secret to life is gratitude.

When he and I would play a board game or card game together, if I were on a winning streak, he’d shake his head and say, “Bethany Anne, you are DIPPED in it.” Of course contextually I always understood his meaning, though it seemed an odd expression.

I Googled the actual definition yesterday and it read, “A person who is extremely lucky over a period of time.” Without question, when it came to life, my dad knew he was “dipped in it.” I hope he understood that while he may have been blessed with a dash of luck, it was who he was as a man that allowed for his beautiful life to unfold as it did.

That being said, dad would want “his better half” to be fully acknowledged in the story of who he was as a man, and the life he led. My parents met before dad was even a man at all. To hear him tell it, he was ruined for all other girls once he laid eyes on my mother, Betty Lou Oakley, at the age of fifteen. They had their stops and starts through high school and college, but their overall love story spanned fifty-five of his seventy years. They say you’re only as good as the people with whom you surround yourself. My parents chose wisely. I don’t think either of them ever really doubted that, through over 45 years of marriage.

I believe he left his Earthly body with few regrets, aside from leaving us all when we were still having so much fun. It feels as though he had only just begun to warm up on the dance floor of life.

Dad’s death was a shock. He worked a full day at the office, came home and ran on the treadmill, hopped off singing (out of tune, of course) and moments later, he collapsed. He stayed with us for nine more days, but never regained consciousness. I believe this was his final act of graciousness – to give his family time to hold his hand, shower him with love, and to finally accept (if not to understand why) he had to go.

A testament to the life he led, and the love he shared so freely, during those final days that his loved ones spent at his bedside:

There were no amends to be made.

There were no regrets over harsh words having been spoken.

There was no fear that he didn’t know how much he was loved.

There was no insecurity about how he had felt about each of us.

In the end, there was only love.

No Hard Feelings by The Avett Brothers

When my body won’t hold me anymore 
And it finally lets me free 

Will I be ready? 

When my feet won’t walk another mile And my lips give their last kiss goodbye 

Will my hands be steady?
When I lay down my fears 

My hopes and my doubts 

The rings on my fingers 

And the keys to my house 

With no hard feelings

When the sun hangs low in the west 

And the light in my chest 

Won’t be kept held at bay any longer 

When the jealousy fades away 

And it’s ash and dust for cash and lust 

And it’s just hallelujah 

And love in thoughts and love in the words 

Love in the songs they sing in the church 

And no hard feelings

Lord knows they haven’t done 

Much good for anyone 

Kept me afraid and cold 

With so much to have and hold

When my body won’t hold me anymore 

And it finally lets me free 

Where will I go? 

Will the trade winds take me south 

Through Georgia grain or tropical rain 

Or snow from the heavens?

Will I join with the ocean blue 

Or run into the savior true 

And shake hands laughing 

And walk through the night 

Straight to the light 

Holding the love I’ve known in my life 

And no hard feelings

Lord knows they haven’t done 

Much good for anyone 

Kept me afraid and cold 

With so much to have and hold 

Under the curving sky 

I’m finally learning why 

It matters for me and you 

To say it and mean it too 

For life and its loveliness 

And all of its ugliness 

Good as it’s been to me 

I have no enemies 

I have no enemies 

I have no enemies 

I have no enemies

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