I like the above picture because I think James is A LOT like my dad. I guess I should ask my mom if she feels that way too. They also have birthday's one day apart. Hence they are both blowing out the candles. I like that I have a picture with both of them together.
You can tell in the one below how sick he was near the end. He passed just 6 months after this picture was taken. This was on my mom's birthday. As an interesting side note, I made both of the cakes. This was a time before my cake decorating fetish. But I had my fetish for eating good cake. :)
Another regret I have is not taking more advantage of the time I had with him, to ask him stories about himself etc. He loved to answer any questions, about anything, we ever had. That made him a great dad.
Anyway, like I said, he's been gone for over three years and I miss him. However, Heavenly Father blessed me with one of His tender mercies. About a year ago I pulled a random book off a shelf at my mom's house. (I don't remember what the book was.) But inside the book was a folded up piece of paper. Just at first glance it looks like a typed up letter and almost immediately I saw at the bottom of the page it said "written by Ronald E. Ward". That's my dad. My curiosity was piqued. I hurried to read what the letter said and was extremely surprised and touched by what I read.
May 29, 2002
When you start getting older there is a lot that can make you feel bad. You can't do half the things you used to do. You're no longer interested in most of the things that used to be entertaining. You can't remember things. It takes you twice as long to do basic chores. Your body aches when you want to lie down and rest.
There are so many things to make you feel bad that it's a very good thing to have your tail-end, last child be a happy, caring daughter. When my energy level would take me no further than the garage to play with some old worn out cars, Alicia was very supportive and even wanted to drive them for me.
Alicia has always been happy - and patient, with her elderly parents. I know she felt cheated to be raised by grandparents - who just happen to be her parents! but she has managed it well. When there are so many children in the family, someone has to be raised by old people.
Alicia has faced other challenges as well, and has been tenacious in holding out for what she thinks is best. Some of you may have heard us call her by her favorite nickname: "Jaws". She got that name by biting the side out of a glass cup when she was only about 3 years old. I think the milk wasn't coming out fast enough. We continued using the name, and she has been like a shark in going for things that are important to her. One challenge has been her position as child number 8, behind 7 strong, successful siblings. I know she has felt intimidated by them some times, but she has been "shark like" in establishing her self as a very talented and successful young lady. She has made the most of her situation and opportunities. (Here he hand wrote a note: trumpet, piano, singing.)
As a pre-schooler, she was once delivered to her school on a day when there was no class. When we realized the mistake and went to look for her, we found she was having a grand time just playing around the class room, making the most of her situation.
She is still like that. She can size up a situation and see what good can come from it, making that her focus.
She certainly deserves the Young Womanhood Recognition award. I know this is just the beginning of many notable accomplishments that will follow in her life.
written by Ronald E. Ward
I have zero memory of my dad reading this when I accepted my Young Womanhood Recognition award. And why it was stuck is some book is a mystery to me. But, now I have it and it is a treasure.
I miss you dad, but thank you for leaving me this small piece of you that lets me know that you are proud of me. I hope that I can always make you proud. Love you.