Monday, April 20, 2009

Craig K. Hayes March 3, 1950 - April 11, 2009

I have only been blessed to know Craig since
November of 2006. I met him for the first time at his home on the mighty Mississippi. My husband ("significant other" at that time) wanted me to meet his dad. The dad who I soon learned was one of the hardest working men I have ever met. I know Craig is loved and remembered for different things and different reasons. This is my perspective on the short time I've known him, and on the things I learned and love about him.

In the few years I have known him, if he was not sleeping, he was moving and working- getting things done. Whenever we were at the house, if he saw me walking, he would come up with the four-wheeler or the "big wheel" to take me wherever I needed to go. Even if it was just 20 feet, he insisted. I always knew him to be such a gentleman. He made me feel so welcome in the family. Every time I had a dessert, if he was next to me, he would steal the frosting from me! Strangely enough, I don't think he ever knew how much that made me feel comfortable and blessed to be a part of the family. He taught me to shoot: dominate eye open, firm grip, breathe in and out half way, squeeze (very important-squeeze, never pull) the trigger. He made it sound and look so easy. I am here to say- it most certainly is NOT.

Craig is an "outdoorsman" if there ever was one. He loves farming & hunting (especially at the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota and the family farm "The Rocking H Ranch" in Pierz, Minnesota), fishing, canoeing, campfires and riding motorcycle. I only saw him shoot a few times but I can't recall ever seeing him miss. He is a strong believer in our 2nd Amendment right and was a lifetime NRA member. He attended commercial arts school and is a wonderful painter and photographer. I believe his eye for natural beauty had a hand in his love and appreciation for "the great outdoors".

He loves his boys (two new brothers for me): from left; Josh-the youngest, great sense of humor and a very big heart; Shawn- the oldest, the one to ask about anything "firearm" & very helpful and welcoming; Kirk-first and foremost MINE, wonderful compassionate heart, beautiful smile, a great shot (bow or rifle) and God's greatest blessing.
He loves his grand kids: the vivacious and ever-smiling Landon (5); the determined and adorable "curly Sue" Hannah (4); and the sweet, quiet, and very "cool" oldest grandson Hunter (7).
He loves his pooches (they are part of his family): the sweet and bouncy Labrador, Brandy,
and the energetic, affectionate and often misunderstood Pug-a-Shitz, (yes that's a breed) Bella.
He loves his wife, Bobbie (his honeybunch). Bobbie was everpresent in Craig's illness. If there ever were anyone who could love and care for someone-it would be her.
Craig had multiple myeloma for 14 years. The survival rate in the US is 31% in 5 years. Further proof of his unrelenting will and strength. My husband and I were blessed to spend lots of time with him around the end of his life. It was absolutely beautiful the way we saw his heart soften and his faith grow in his last months. We had the opportunity to watch him reach out to the Lord, The Author and Finisher of his faith.

On the last night of his life, my husband and I were going to bed around 9:30. Craig had been unresponsive all day and to my joy, the last thing my husband did and said was lift him up, wrap him in his arms, kiss his head and say "Dad, reach out to Your Savior, fall into His arms". Just about 2 hours later, that is exactly what he did. Craig is no longer unable to walk, or sick and fighting cancer. The fight is over, victory is won. As the apostle Paul says "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ; shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword, (or cancer)?...Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

Romans 8:35 & 37

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