Fondly remembering life lessons of father, grandfather

Dear Dad,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot this week and I want to take the time to verbally express to you what’s in my heart right now. Oh, how I wish I would have told you and mom, more often than I did, how much I loved you.

Though you’ve been gone 29 years, it seems like it was only yesterday that Dave came home from work early to tell me you had been killed in a car accident. From that day forward, my life has never been the same.

I was just rereading the obituary you wrote about your dad when he passed away. The year was 1938, grandpa was 83, and it was for your hometown newspaper in Russell Springs, Kentucky. You wrote it the best you knew how. A 20-year-old you were at the time.

Just knowing you only completed the third grade in school makes me so proud of you for doing that. I remember, you used to tell us kids the reason you didn’t go further in school was because you were such a sickly child your health didn’t permit it.

Dad, this is what you wrote about your dad for the newspaper:

“Of our husband and father, Belfield Phelps. On the night of September 27, 1938, the death angel visited our home and took from us our dear husband and father, B.F. Phelps. Daddy, how we miss you, but some sweet day we hope to meet you in a better world above where there is no sorrow or pain. Daddy, I want to see you so bad that it seems like I can hardly bear it.

“But if I do as you have told me to do, I will see you some sweet day. I miss you, daddy, every day and every hour. Dad, we stood by your bedside when the blessed Savior took you away from us, but the blessed Savior knew best.

“Dear daddy hadn’t walked any for more than four years. But he is now walking the streets of gold.

“Our Savior is taking care of our precious daddy.

“I am so glad you lived in a way so as to be in a good home where you have no sorrow or trouble. Now, dear daddy, you are at rest. Some day, we hope to rest with you. Now, daddy, you see no trouble and have nothing to worry about.

“But I worry because I can’t be with you. Yet, someday I will prepare to meet you again.

“Of course, all of us children and mother miss you, plus your other relatives and friends. You were so good and kind that no one could have anything against you. You had nothing against anyone.

“You are gone from us, dear daddy. We can’t forget you. We loved you here on earth and we still love you and always shall. Your love and influence will never die as long as we live.

“I hope everybody lives so as to meet you.”

It was signed simply, “The Family,” with Dad’s name beneath.

From grandpa’s obituary, some of the greatest Biblical values you taught us kids are clear to see. The value of:

Trusting God, that he always knows what is best even though we may not like it.

Faith, that we will someday be in heaven with all the others who have followed Christ.

Loving our family and others with such depth that it beckons us all to want to be more like Christ in all areas of our lives.

Influence, living as an example of Christ to the degree that our influence will live on in the lives of our descendants for generations to come.

Kindness, being such a kind person that no one could have a reason to hold anything against us.

Forgiving, that we would be so forgiving that we would never ever ever hold anything against anyone.

Lastly, the value of being loved and missed by everyone who knew us when our time comes to meet the blessed Savior.

Dad, thank you for living the life before us you so lovingly wrote about in grandpa’s obituary.

Thank you, too, for being the best possible father God could ever have given us kids.

We still and forever will love and miss you.

Your loving daughter,

Nita Jean

Nita Evans of Columbus is owner of Confidential Christian Counseling, focusing her work especially with ministry leaders and their families. She also is a Columbus Police Department chaplain and a national retreat and conference speaker. She can be reached at 812-614-7838 or by visiting