Ardis as a young child with her father

Ardis as a young child with her father

My father died at the age of 94, just six weeks before “Journeys to Mother Love” was released. I had hoped he would be able to see the finished book before he passed, but that didn’t happen.

Dad was of the generation that didn’t ever discuss emotions or shower people with compliments. Matters of family were best kept to ourselves. And although he openly shared the stories of his life with anyone in earshot, he definitely didn’t have any desire to have his stories published.

Years before I ever had the thought of becoming a writer, I tried to get my father to document his stories on the computer. I even bought him a book about how to leave a written legacy for our family. He wanted no part of that. Instead he appointed me family historian. I took notes of our conversations and recorded our talks.

His health deteriorated quickly in the last few months. He was frail. His eyes were failing. It was hard for him to concentrate for very long. He spent most of his days in bed. I thought his health would prevent him reading my story. He had no idea I was even writing it.

I had shared with Dad about the healing I had experienced in my relationship with my mother before she died. Mom and Dad had been divorced for 40 years, but he seemed to have an interest in my relationship with her. He was very proud of how my brothers and I cared for her in her final years.

During this visit in February, I prayed that my father would be open to my telling this story more publicly. I prayed for the words and the right time to tell him, and for a way for him to somehow read this story before it was too late. God answered all those prayers.

My father expressed surprise at hearing of my writing and interest in how this all came about. I loaded the electronic file of the manuscript with a very large font on his computer. He surprised me by staying up late and read the entire story in one sitting.

His words of affirmation of my writing and the story were an incredible gift—from a man who rarely gave a compliment. When the time came to edit the manuscript, the publisher requested more background information about my mother. I had more conversations with my father and found the missing pieces that I needed to add to the story.

There’s more to this story. I’ll share the rest in my next post.

Until then, we’d love to hear your story or comments.

~ Ardis A. Nelson