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You know him as Balladeer

faith family inspiration Life love spirituality

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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