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Out of blackened steel he formed his name written from a heart that opened towards a daughter.

I told him I loved angels and roses and he decided roses would fit nicely framed inside the iron work.

He came over one afternoon and attached it to the walkway between our courtyard and back yard.
It was a wonderful addition to our home and I will always make a special place for it wherever we live.
My older sister also received one a few years before he made mine.
Her gate has a large heart framed inside it as a symbol of the special love shared between them.
They are gifts from a dad to his daughters. 
I have saved in keepsake boxes a few handwritten letters and notes and perhaps a card or two from him.
There are a few pictures and an audio tape of him talking with our grandmother that I will need to sit down and listen to.
Each memory treasured and stored and it will take time for me to process it all. Perhaps they need to be put in one special box labeled “things from dad” so I will know where to find them when I want to sit down and remember him.

Years ago he gave me a small rocking horse he made out of wood with legs that click back and forth when it is in rocking motion.
I also have a welcome sign outside my front door.
It is a bit rustic looking because of weather and wind but it has his stetson cowboy hat emblem on it and barbed wire representing the farm life he learned to love.

In his younger years he was one of the top auctioneers at the county fairs and he was also a top of the line sheep shearer. It has been said that could shear up to 300 sheep a day winning many awards in the process.
His name was well known in many locations where he had visited or lived. Those who knew him had good things to say about him.
For many years he also did farm work and cattle ranching for others. If you met him you would always find him dressed in blue jeans with a big belt buckle, western shirts, and cowboy boots.

These are just a few memories shared as I begin to process
his ‘time of leaving’. I don’t know how to feel yet.
Grief comes in and walks with me and then it steps back allowing me space to think.
I don’t know what a daughter should do at a time like this
perhaps all I can do is pray.
Words are not easy for me and certainly can’t comfort the one who is struggling for every breath.
It is hard to watch something I have watched before.
The independence moving away from the person who is ill and the dependence playing a much needed role.
My heart wishes I don’t have to go through this one more time but the reality tells me ‘it is true’ and we must.
When my mom in law was on hospice every day it was a deep loss and a sad vision as we watched the person we loved ‘fading from us’.
For now I will enjoy the memories of gifts given and hold into my heart a hope and a prayer that dad is comfortable and at peace when he breathes his last breath.
Gifts given from a heart that opened will always be treasures to hold onto as I continue to remember this man we call dad.