Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Year has Passed

Today marks the first anniversary of Dad's passing.  This year has been a real struggle, but it has been much more peaceful having the knowledge of a life after this one.  It is a real blessing to know that he is in a place free of sin, free of suffering, a place of peace.  Many of our family friends have passed away this year, including my dear Uncle Geoff.  Geoff is Dad's brother and I know that would have been a really sweet reunion.

My main concern this year has been for my dear Mother.  I cannot imagine the loneliness she has felt.  I truly love and miss Dad, but for her, it must be so hard.  Imagine being with your spouse for 50 years, and then they are gone.  My Dad suffered with cancer for 2 years before he passed and she had to watch him endure pain and discomfort to the very end.  I have thought of the time when my Mother has to leave this earthly life and whilst it will be heartbreaking for me, I know that I will be filled with peace, knowing that the reunion between 2 people who loved each other more than anyone I know will be beautiful. 

For those of you haven't been following this blog, I wanted to share with you the thoughts I shared at his funeral. 

What a glorious day this is! Thank you for being here to share this special time with us as we pay tribute and respect to our husband, father, grandad, brother, uncle and friend. A man who will be truly missed. A man who touched so many hearts, lives and souls.

I would like my Dad's brother and sisters to know that he thought the world of you your husbands, wives and children. He loved to visit you. I am glad that I got the many chances to visit with him. He often spoke about each of you individually with kindness, I might add. I would like to thank all the Macmillan and Marie Curie nurses. I think you do a wonderful job and I appreciate all you did for Dad.

My wonderful husband Lance, is on standby. If I can't get through this today he will come up and take over. I have to thank him so sincerely for all he has done to enable me to see my Mom and Dad during the years I have lived in the US. I have so many memories of the past 7 years alone. Thank you Lance.
I have had to condense my thoughts. With 40 years of memories it could have been about 8 hours so I had to squish it all into 10 minutes.

What comes to your mind when you think of John Sims? Having spent so much time with him in person, on the phone and through letters I can think of so many wonderful things. Dad was a person whose word truly was his bond. If he said he would do something, he would do it. The important thing here is he would do it with a loving heart and a caring soul. He would not complain nor wish he had not been asked. He truly loved and lived to help others. I asked him why he had taken a different way home one day and he said it was because he was looking for people who may need his help.

Dad loved to associate with everyone. It didn't matter what walk of life they were from he could strike up a conversation with anyone. He really lived up to the scripture in Matthew 25:40 "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Dad was never one to think of anything in monetary terms. He was happy with his life and money didn't mean anything to him. He paid his tithing without fail and Mom continued to do so right to the very end for him. He always thought about the homeless and those without. He wanted to help all who needed it and never thought about being paid for it.

Dad's sense of humor was something that will always make me smile and will help me get through the sadness that comes with this loss. He was known for his jokes and by the way he wanted you to know that if you still owe him the tenner you need to give it to my Mom. I am assuming for all the people he said that to, my Mom will be a Millionairess.

Missionary work was a very important part of Dad's life. He loved to talk about his faith and shared a message with all he came into contact with. He is a legend amongst Missionaries who have served in this ward and many others he came into contact with. He did all he could to further the work and spent countless hours with the Missionaries. I know he is now doing what he did best on this earth.

His love for reading was well known. He really enjoyed learning and one thing I wish I had a record of was how many pages/books he has read. When he would visit us he would always have books to read and when he had read those, we would go to the bookstore to buy more. In honor of this, I have decided to write a book about Dad. The title will be John Sims, My Father, My Hero, My Friend.

My Mom got salmonella, a form of food poisioning and was in the hospital for quite some time. Dad had to take care of us and my biggest memory of that was his cooking skills. I think that is when I grew to really love fish and chips:) We ate many sandwiches and beans on toast and on the Sunday we thought we were in for a right treat when he told us we would be having meat pies. When he placed them on the table, I raised my eyebrows and said "Dad these look a bit pale, they are not cooked." He replied " Ohhhh they are fine, besides we asked a blessing on them" I answered "Yes and I am sure they asked a blessing on the food at the wedding"

One of our famous memories was when I bought a leather jacket. I had wanted it for so long and being a single Mom at the time, I couldn't afford much. I ordered the jacket from a catalog company and was so pleased to see how great it looked when it arrived. On the day it arrived, Dad asked if I wanted to go out for the day with him and my Mom and of course I wore this fabulous jacket. It was a rather warm day and decided it was too warm for this jacket. I placed it in the trunk/boot of the car. The next day I realized where I had left the jacket and called Dad. "Dad I left the jacket in your car" There was a long silence when suddenly Dad confessed he had taken some clothes that very morning to DR Barnado's charity shop and YES my beautiful jacket which I had worn only once and for about 30 minutes was amongst the clothes he had dropped off. He told me he would go to the shop and let them know what had happened. Alas, not good news. The jacket was nowhere to be seen. Dad was convinced the jacket never even made it to the shop floor. A lesson was learned that day, apart from the fact I never left ANYTHING in the car again, that worldly possessions were really not that important, not important enough to follow through with the fact I wanted to scream at him. He taught me then that "if our family was alive and well then nothing else mattered" I now think it is time to get the leather jacket back :)

Dad suffered with Bowel Cancer in the early part of this decade. He had surgery which proved to be successful. A special memory for me was when I went to visit him in Castle Hill hospital. Usually I visited him in the evening due to my work schedule. On this occasion, I visited him just after lunch. As I walked into the hospital ward, I saw him just laying there and my heart was full. I reached for his hand and he had tears streaming down his face. He told me that just that very minute he had prayed and asked God to send him an angel to comfort him and as he said "Amen" I walked in the door.

Rugby League meant everything to Dad. This was the one and only thing Dad and I did not have in common. I was converted to football. I told Dad I could answer every question about football except one........How much Gum Alex Ferguson has chewed in his life. "This past May, I watched Manchester UTD win the Premiership Cup, Hull City get into the Premiership and England beat the US all with Dad. Every now and again he would say "Oh int this a load a rubbish. Nowt like rugby is it. That's a real mans game."

Whilst I was waiting for my connecting flight to Manchester in the US this past May, I overheard a guy on his cell phone calling his wife. I told him after his conversation how good it was to hear the British accent. We chatted for a while and this guy, whose name was Mark told me how the one thing he missed when he came to the US was Rugby League. I looked at him almost shocked and said "WOW you sound like my Dad, he says the very same thing. I told Mark how my Dad had played for Hull Kingston Rovers and he asked me his name. "John Sims" I replied. Mark answered, I remember him. I used to play for Bradford Northern. Johnny Sims, That guy was like lightening when he ran down that field. We talked about Roger Millward, Steve Mcnamara and Len Casey and I really did try to act like I had an interest in rugby. He was rather shocked when I told him I preferred Football.

Planning this trip to England this past May has been one of the best decisions of my life. We had so much fun together. I followed Dad round like a little lost pup. Every where he went I was right there with him. As usual, we went to visit many people.

I learned many lessons and good things from Dad. He taught us all well. His love for my Mother has been so apparent over the years. He didn't like to spend anytime apart from her.He lived for her. He couldn't have lived without her. Mom "Thank you so much for all you did for Dad. He loved you more than anything in this world. I know he joked around that you struck oil when you married him, but he knew it was the other way round. As you know Dad always asked me if there was anything he could do for me in every phone call. I used to tell him "the best thing you can do for me is to love my Mother" In all my life, I have NEVER seen anyone love his wife more. One who wanted to be with his wife every minute of every day and feel incomplete if he was not around you.

He would tell me that the best thing I could do for him was to take care of you when he was gone. I promised him I would and I intend to keep that promise. Thank you for granting him his last wish - to die at home. Had it not been for your caring nature and your unconditional love for him, that wish would not have been granted.

There are obviously so many more memories I could share about Dad and we really would be here for another 8 hours if I shared them. I could go into detail about the time he put shelves up and not long after I put the books on the shelf, it was hanging on one side whilst the books were on the floor in a heap. He locked himself out the house one day and I had to climb in the bathroom window. Good job that was 20 years ago and before I had 4 children.

In closing my remarks today, I would like to share my analogy of my Dad and Chess. He loved to play chess. It really was the only time he sat still. I remember him chatting with Uncle Gordon on the phone when Mom and Dad visited us last Christmas. Dad told him that I had just beat him at chess and that he had let me beat him. I said "No you didn't" and Dad said "Yes I did"......I told Dad he should be proud of the fact I had beat him, it showed I had a good teacher.

The pawn - I think of this piece as one of importance. Although this piece is the smallest it is the most powerful. One of Dad's famous sayings on the rugby field was "the bigger they are the faster I run". He never worried about wealth or possessions. He always wished he was taller. Although Dad was short in stature he was a giant amongst men.

The Castle/Rook - The object of a castle is to protect, be a safe place. Dad always protected his family and provided a safe place for us.

The Knight - Dad was our Knight in shining armor.

The Bishop - Dad was the Bishop of this ward

The Queen - He always referred to our Mom as his Queen. He loved her more than anything in this world and always wanted her to be by his side.

The King - Dad is the King. Dad's life was not a stalemate. It was not defeated. His body was plagued with a disease but his spirit lives on and one day we will be reunited.

I am so thankful for the many happy memories I have of my Dad. He will always be in my heart and forever in my thoughts

I love you Dad

"We love and miss you Dad"