Dad, I’ll See You Later…

Last year while I was working in Egypt, my Dad announced his retirement.  A month later he was diagnosed with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s) a disease for which there is no viable treatment or cure.  Dad was a steadfast believer in the truth of salvation by God’s grace, given to us through Jesus who, in an act of pure love, took upon himself the punishment for our sins.  Over the course of the past 11 months, my Dad remained positive, peaceful, and strong at heart.  A lifelong jazz musician, I know it wasn’t easy for him to lose the ability to play his saxophone but I never once heard him complain about his condition or the resulting changes that had to take place in his and my Mom’s life as they walked his last mile together.  He never questioned God’s plan for him.  With such dignity and strength of heart, he handled his final days as a man filled with hope for the everlasting.

Dad and I openly shared our thoughts about everything, including his coming death.  In conversation one night we rightly concluded that as believers we didn’t have to say, “Goodbye” to each other.  Instead, our confidence in God’s restoration offers us a more meaningful phrase: “I’ll see you later”.

On the evening of the 25th of September, at his bedside and surrounded by family, my Dad was called away from his earthly tent to go and finally be at home with the Lord.

Mixed with feelings of both sorrow and joy I say to my Dad, I will see you later

Thomas E. Leonard (March 30th, 1952 – September 25th, 2017)

16 thoughts on “Dad, I’ll See You Later…

  1. Tom, Jen, and family, your Dad was and continues to be such a blessing to the Graysons and to so, so many other families as we witnessed his witness for Christ during our military tour in Germany. We witnessed your strong family unit anchored in Christ and knew that when you left Germany, that strong witness would continue. You are so right…we shall see your Dad later…and what a glorious reunion that will be! Love to your Mom and sister, and continued prayers for strength and comfort as you begin to experience your “firsts” throughout this next year. ALL BY GOD’S GRACE!


  2. A long time friend, , we had finally agreed to slow down and spend more time together. Our families were tied by friendship and family. Tom we love you and you will be missed more than you know. We both moved here and were diagnosed with different issues. His ALS and my heart failure along with other complications. Why God took him first is God’s business. Why He left me here I do not know. We will see each other again and take those walks without the issues of always being to busy. Enjoy heaven my dear friend. Tell my dad I said hello- you will enjoy him.


  3. Thank you, Tommy Jr., for sharing this. So beautiful! He has touched, and continues to touch, every person’s life he ever encountered. See you later, Cuz….Love you all!


  4. Oh, Tom- I am so sorry for you and your whole family’s loss… I know you had mentioned his diagnosis to me once before- when you moved- but nonetheless, this hit me in the gut this morning.
    You’re an amazing guy, and that’s a reflection upon how you were raised. A tribute to him.
    Know that I am holding you and your family close in my thoughts.


  5. I send my heartfelt sympathy, to you & your family.
    I knew your father in high school & he was always such a kind & dear person to me. He always had such nice memories of my parents & myself.
    I had always hoped that your father had, had a good life. Being friends on Facebook..I am happy that, he indeed, had a loving family. The man that your father became..with GOD’S Guidance, was someone that shared his love of family & his walk with our LORD & was always willing to share his knowledge. I loved the fact that Tom shared how much he loved his wife, his children & grandchildren & those he cared for. What a wonderful legacy!
    Thank you, for sharing your thoughts & the last moments of time with your dear father!
    Your father is making Heavenly music & GOD is smiling!


  6. Aloha Tom,

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful farewell story that you had with your father. I’m a believer in Jesus Christ too and believe that nothing can be able to separate us from the love of God.

    Your father will live on!



  7. We are still praying for you, your family and your Dad. Thank you for sharing and please except our condolences. Over the years I have learned a lot from you in many subjects from our dear Lord to lenses…this journey you went through has again taught a good lesson to me. I love the portraits Tom…they don’t just tell a story, I can hear the jazz!


  8. My condolences to you Tom and your family. Always sad to loose someone, I lost my Dad just over 4 years ago. Still think of him every day.


  9. Thanks for this. I came for the photography but what you wrote about your father gave me a strong sense of peace and God’s presence.

    God bless!



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