My Father in Law, Jerry Vesey, went to be with our Lord Tuesday October 25, 2011 after a long difficult illness. His was a wonderful example of a godly life! Below is a tribute to her Father that my wife Kathy wrote. A tribute to a wonderful father and to our Heavenly Father’s grace in his life. Above is Mom and Dad Vesey with two of their “Great Grandkids” during the Summer of 2010.
January 3rd; 6:15 pm. I write this from the school bleachers while my 10 yr old daughter swims in the high school pool with her friend, Julia. I am wondering…as I sit here passing time…how many more days will I “wait”? I wonder…is today the last time I will hear his voice…wondering if tonight will be the night that God takes my sweet dad home…or will he, once again, struggle to breathe throughout the night… struggle to sleep…while he lays watching his wife sleep.
I do not dread the day his heart HAS stopped and he stands before his Creator. I know he will be welcomed with great rejoicing… But, oh, how I dread each new day that I am aware of my father – frail and weary, sitting in his chair – trying to get warm, while he waits and waits for death to come release him from his weary body, and know that he is resting in the arms of his Savior, Jesus Christ.
The unknown is frightening…and even though dad is absolutely sure of where he will spend eternity, he still fears the passing”…fears the possible pain…fear of change.
He grieves, not for his dying, but for the sorrow that he knows his loved ones will feel when he is gone. He grieves for the empty bed my mother will lie in – awake and alone without him beside her after 56 years of feeling the warmth and safety of his
companionship. He weeps for the tears of his children that he knows will come. He feels a longing for his yet-unborn-grandchildren and great-grandchildren that he will not hold in his arms…for the gardens he will not plant along side of
his grandchildren this coming spring. He grieves for our pain as we will try to adjust to…the absence of his voice,
always cheerful, always encouraging,…his gentle hand upon our shoulder…his quiet loving smile as he winks across the room…he feels the sorrow of his grandchildren telling their mommy “I miss Grandpa”.
God has put eternity into man’s hearts. (Ecc. 3:11) We were created to live forever – and we will! But we have become so
accustomed to this earthly life – it’s family relationships…and it is hard to let go.
In his life, my dad lived for Christ. He found great pleasure in simply “living”! He enjoyed all God blessed him with…he loved his turkeys, and his chickens…his fruit trees, his garden… He did not take pleasure in storing up “earthly treasures”…working overtime to “get ahead”. His God and his family were his priority…his treasure in life.
I will always treasure the sight of my dad sitting in his chair holding and reading his Bible…taking notes… I will treasure the
sight of my father kneeling along side his cherished wife by their bedside each night – humbly praying for his concerns for his family and friends (I can see that so clearly in my mind as I passed their bedroom door just months ago!). I will always remember the trips that my parents made to visit us – how he would get out of the car with that wonder smile of his – greeting me with an embrace. Then we would walk to the trunk of the car where he would reveal all his “things” he brought – “just in case” we needed to do any work together. There would be his brown leather boots, his gloves, his trimming shears, a shovel or two. We would sit together and plan which trees should be transplanted…what flowers to buy.
Dad was a faithful loving husband who cherished my mother more than I have ever seen in any other marriage. He was a wonderful father…whose unconditional love and guidance successfully raised six children. He was a fun grandpa who never
tired of reading “another book”. He gave our children priceless memories as they went tubing together down the Clarion River; roasted marshmellos over fires at Cook Forest, and walked many miles of wooded trails and “creek hikes” looking for crawdads
and other “treasures”!
I’ve always looked forward to going to heaven…now I even MORE eagerly await it! I can’t wait to see my dad’s face waiting for
me by the gate! With outstretched arms I will hear one of his familiar greetings: “Hi, beautiful!”, “Hello, sweetheart!” , “Hi Babe…Whatcha up to?” And then, there will be no more tearful good byes…oh how wonderful that will be.
“You did good, dad…thank you for living a selfless life for your wife, your children, and most importantly, your God. Well done!! I love you…forever!” Kathy
October 21, 2011 Additional Comments:
In our wildest dreams, we could not have imagined dad’s tired and worn out body lasting through nearly another year! God’s
timing is not our timing…but His is perfect. Dad’s heart will not beat another second past God’s choosing.
This year has brought some precious new memories of dad’s selflessness. Do you remember when dad, through gasping
breath and little strength, struggled to explain to Amy that he had seen a commercial about a particular piece of jewelry he wanted Amy to purchase for him to give to mom? Remember, during his very last days, how he was determined that Amy would understand his whispers that mom needed a new scoop for the ice machine? Remember how he strained his neck to see his
brand new great grandbabies on SKYPE and how it made him weakly smile…how he gently cradled each of our new babies that came to visit.
One more opportunity to hold his frail hand while we express our love and reassure him that we will take care of mom for him.
One more kiss on his warm cheek. One more gift of being able to rub his tired feet. One more time of hearing him whisper “you’re
sweet”. One more time of letting our eyes meet each other and “hold” – “silently talking” – saying things with our eyes that we cannot bare to say with our tongues because of the tears that would stick in our throats…
We will honor you, dad, in your desire to share Jesus with others. We will pass on your words of Faith. Like the men and women in Hebrews, whose stories still stand of their faith in Christ, so we, will tell others of your Jesus.
I will see you “on the other side”, dad. This is not “goodbye”, but instead “I will see you there”. You fought well. Finish the race
in peace, take the outstretched hand of Jesus as He welcomes you into eternity with the words “Well done, Jerry…enter into Glory”.
Oh, the precious memories of “one more year”. Thank You, Jesus.
Kathy Southworth October 21, 2011