By Kelli Artherton and Mindi Artherton
It has been almost a year. While at times it seems like it is has been a looooong year, on the other hand, we can still remember your goofy jokes like we heard them just yesterday. Now, when we visit your house, we fully expect you to bust through the door any moment covered in swimming pool plaster. It has been nearly a year since our father-in-law went to heaven.
While Robert wasn’t our dad, he was one of the most important men in our lives. He poured his caring heart, sense of humor and work ethic into his sons (and daughters too, but today is all about the men!) and as a result shaped and molded our husbands into fantastic fathers and caring husbands.
No, Robert was not our dad, but he taught us a lot about life. After reflecting on this past year without him, we now know, more than ever, the impact his life had on ours–two of his daughter-in-laws. We learned 5 very important lessons from our full of life, silly, gray-haired, joke tellin’ father-in-law:
5.) Make time for Jesus: While all three of us (Robert, Mindi and Kelli) come from very different religious backgrounds, we could all agree on one very important thing–LOVE JESUS! We did not see eye-to-eye on the details that religion has created, but we can all agree that Jesus is real, He loves us and we need to spend time with Him. Robert loved his church and rarely missed a chance to attend a worship service. That practice is important and Robert set a great example.
4.) Make time to laugh: If you knew our father-in-law or even just ran into him on the street, he was bound to say something to make you laugh. While at the time, we usually reacted to his silliness with a semi-forced laugh and maybe an eye-roll to another family member in the room, his laughter and jolliness was contagious. Even in his final hours when he knew the end was very near, he had the entire family laughing with his remarks and silly facial expressions. Robert taught us life is too short to be serious all the time–laugh–even if it seems ridiculous.
3.) Family is everything: Robert loved his family. His philosophy was the more family the better! While he was surrounded with family most of the time, he always took the time to make each and every person feel welcomed and loved. This was not lost on our kids! Nearly a year later, our young kids are still talking about Grandpa and are excited to see him again in Heaven.
2.) Work hard: Robert loved to work. Well, maybe he didn’t love to work, but he loved to provide for his family. But we think he did like to work too! In fact, he was late to the doctor’s appointment where he was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer because he was out working. One thing is for sure, the Artherton kids are not afraid to put in a little hard work and that is because of the outstanding example set by their dad.
1.) Be kind to others: Nobody had a heart like Robert. He would give anything and everything he had just to help somebody else. Of course that applied to his family, but he would be happy to give the shirt off his back to a complete stranger. At times, his generosity was hard to understand because not many people are wired that way. But goodness, what a great way to be remembered! They always say you can’t “out give God.” We think Robert was sure trying to!
So this weekend, while everyone is celebrating the men in their lives, we will also be remembering and celebrating Robert. Celebrating a life well lived and thanking God for Robert and the men he has fathered. We were not prepared to miss him as much as we do, but we are grateful that his legacy remains and he has etched many life lessons on our hearts and the hearts of our family.