CindyFrench-stranger than fiction stories

about facing life with hope and confidence, no matter the diagnosis

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A Tribute to My Dad re-written almost 4 years later

Posted by Cindy H French on 06/17/2012

I am Cynthia, soon nicknamed Cindy, the first born of the Hungerford clan.  I was the first girl in several generations in the family and so a big surprise for everyone.   My dad cared for me in those first months of my life as he was finishing his PHD and my mom was working as a designer in Knoxville.  I’ve carefully read my baby book and believe that for the first time in his life my Dad experienced unconditional love with me. He wouldn’t have characterized it as such, because he didn’t know what it was nor had he experienced it aside from my mother’s love. But as I grew up and until he went to be with Jesus, Daddy and I had an understanding and a special relationship. 

I believed everything he said and tried — until my teens anyway — to do everything he wanted me to. In first grade, I told my teacher that my dad said the moon was made of green cheese. She said absolutely not! But I argued with her and got sent to the principal’s office. I explained that my dad said it—so it was true! Poor Daddy, he had to go down to the principal’s office and explain and apologize!

When Dad died, I had all these flashbacks of him and me. At six, my first Christmas I remember the handmade doll furniture for my doll. My first bike and teaching me to ride without training wheels. A Halloween parade where he made me the most a awesome tail that curled and pitchfork for my devil costume—this was before we knew any better!

When I broke my arm playing Tarzan and Jane and he ran all the red lights to get me to the hospital. The weekend trips around Texas, to San Jacinto Memorial, to New Braunsfels where I rode my first horse.

Of course in my teens things changed a lot! I wanted to be a part of the crowd. Dad didn’t want me out there at all. I seemed to get grounded all the time. When I was 15, I was grounded and had to ask him to please let me go with my boyfriend to his prom-he relented and let me go. But I had to be home by 1am and couldn’t go to the beach with everybody or have breakfast with them. I didn’t understand why? When I was 16 and had my birthday party at home and the kids started dancing—he shut it down. I was mad at him for a long time. I didn’t care that our church preached against dancing and he was a deacon—and needed to adhere to the church’s doctrines. But that was Dad-at that point in his life he was still about works and earning his salvation.

Life with my dad was not easy as a teen, but after I married my Dennis at 29, I seemed to finally grow up and when we moved toTampa in 1984, I purposed to have a closer relationship with both my parents. This led to much visiting and really getting to know my father as a person. For this, I really have to thank my husband. Because it was to him that my dad opened up. Dennis is a little older than I and studied and read quite a bit about World War II. I guess he encouraged my dad to talk, because talk he did! I would be around for some of it, but I would use that time to take my mom out to shop, do her hair, nails, etc. So Dennis would fill me in when I questioned him about the rest of the stories!   For the first time, I heard about his early life and his war years. I finally understood why he was the way he was—military straight, absolutes because of his nuclear physics education and lack of love in his home growing up. When he stood at my mom’s funeral and said  that she was the first person to love him unconditionally-he was being truthful.  I am glad that I had come to love him unconditionally long ago.  First in obedience to God‘s word, but then simply because I loved my dad and could never stay mad at him long!

After mom’s funeral, he came to stay with Dennis and me for three weeks.It was a precious time I am so thankful for now. We talked about his salvation experience and his great regrets in his life. How very much he loved his children, but couldn’t express it. How proud he was of everyone for their teaching their own children about Jesus. That we, his children were believers. That was his greatest legacy.                                          I was sent a card by one of my staff at work.  It said  “Remember that your father left the world a legacy in the good and caring person that you have grown to be. And in this time of sadness may it help comfort you to know that he is still a part of all you are and do.

I had thought to write a Father’s Day tribute, but this one which I tweaked a little from the eulogy for him is the best one I could have ever written for him. The Bible has a lot to say about Fathers. They are to honored.  We are to heed their instruction. In fact it says several times to honor and to heed. At least in the last years of his life, my dad knew I loved him-even on the day that he thought that he would lose my love if he told me his story. All I cared about was that he had a story!

The day that we cleaned out his apartment and we were on our way home coming across I-4. I was crying and praying. I asked the Lord for a sign that Mom and Dad were up there with Him and singing and dancing… I knew (or thought I knew, I was wrong) that God didn’t give signs but please God give me a sign. I need a sign so much. And just a minute or two later, here comes a little red plane buzzing by our car and then up in the sky he goes and begins to draw…a … smiley face…and then he is writing…Jesus…loves…you! well, there was my sign. How else could an airplane draw up by our car, then do draw a smiley face and write Jesus love you-right after I have asked for the sign? to read a sign in the sky, you have to be in just the right place as we were. I called all my sibs and told them. I think they were just as happy to hear this as I was to see it!

There have been a lot of changes in the family since Daddy died. My youngest sister has had 2 little boys a year apart. My oldest granddaughter has accepted the Lord Jesus into her heart.And she has a new sister who is now 3. A couple of my brothers kids have graduated high school and started college and he and wife Lesley had one more little girl  and my sister’s kids-Anna graduated college this year and Beau started this year and made DEAN’s list. Dad would have been proud.  He would have been thrilled with all the babies! He might have had a hard time interacting with children especially as he got older and couldn’t hear, but there was no one that loved having his family around more than he did.

I am better with my grieving now of course than I was even a year ago. But I still cry and I still miss him-and my momma too of course. I had no idea that they were so much my foundation–but in losing them, I found my God who said He would now be my father. He would be my Rock and my Foundation. He would provide for me, protect me, care for me, teach me all things-including trusting him implictly. Hard lesson to learn but wonderful peace to have. Not that He was not there before, but now it is only Him. I love you, Daddy.


13 Responses to “A Tribute to My Dad re-written almost 4 years later”

  1. Warm and loving tribute. You have such wonderful memories that you can cherish forever…God blessed you with a very special father….Diane

    • Diane, this isn’t a comment but a BIG question. I posted a DRAFT I am not sure I want to publish what I am going to do yet . It may be fear and putting myself out there I don’t know, but tell me what you think for real.

  2. Andrew HUNGERFORD said

    Very nice Cindy…well written. I do miss them both…all the time…

    • my next post was all praise and prayer! it was wild to go from crying to joy, but I did and I never can type out my prayers. I talk too fast, but last night it worked. thanks for your help.

  3. Just beautiful Cindy.

  4. This is so touching and beautiful, Cindy. Thank you for sharing this with us, especially about the red plane that wrote “Jesus loves you” in the sky. It must be so difficult to lose a father. I am fortunate my Dad is still with us, and I treasure each moment with him.

    • Dee, it is probably one of the hardest times/things I’ve ever been through. I mean except for God The Father reminding every time I think in my mind that I am an orphan, He says no your not, I am your Father now, I would just lose it some days still. How do people exist w/out God in their lives? Somedays are so hard that you can barely exist with Him in your life!! But always joy comes in the morning-it is always better tomorrow. And He has blessed me so much this week. I am really trying not to be sad today.

      Cindy French, CSAM, CPC Manager 8517 Gunn Highway Odessa, FL 33556 (cell) 813.390.8791 (Office direct dial) 813.926.9390 (corp vm) 813.264.7165 x120 (Fax) 813.968.6450 “It is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.” Jim Collins “Good to Great”

  5. You are the living legacy of your Mom and Dad…from what I’ve read, seems to me like they did a pretty awesome job.

    Be encouraged!

    • Stephen, thank you so much. I guess if you read the postings tonight you also read of my current medical condition. I have a dear friend who acts as an “editor” for me and she has access to the website and put out a notice tonight that I have a pulmonary embolism and a DVT-neither of which are responding to treatment yet.
      I have been on the shots into the stomach and coumadin since Friday with absolutely no improvement. I am going to ask about heparin tomorrow after reading about it on the Mayo site. They can always switch me back to the coumadin when things are under control. Until then I am told by the Master to rest-as of course I asked Him why I was here with this-usually, it is to do His Work, but now with the immunity disorder, I can no longer share a room. So I wait on the Lord to bring whomever He will to me. And in the meantime I am resting. And of course, welcome to the blog. I am humbled that anyone reads what I write-then the Lord reminds me He writes this!

      • Sorry Cindy I didn’t read your current blog posts…so this comes as quite a shock. I will be praying for you as soon as I end this reply…may He who loves us beyond reason, comfort you with His peace.

        I am a participant in a small cell group which will be meeting tomorrow morning. We will be praying for you around 8:45ish.

        Be encouraged in Christ.

      • thanks. I have had calls and posts and emails from everywhere and I am feeling the love greatly! I am so thankful for the prayers. In praying, just ask that the Lord’s plan be done-because I am so very sure that this is a part of the bigger plan for me. it’s also the first time I have ever obeyed the doctors completely.
        I understand I have to pass a scan before I can leave. and they aren’t going to scan me w/o decent numbers! My blood is thick because of the RA and it needs some help-divine-to thin out-if He is so inclined.

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