It’s been 7 years since I last spoke to you face to face. I speak to you now, sometimes in sleep, sometimes in waking, sometimes in memory. Most often I think of you while high in the mountains backpacking, hiking, spelunking, scuba diving, or while studying your grandson. He has your eyes.
I think of you when in the service of others. How many people did we pack or unload from moving trucks? How many secret Santa deliveries did we make? How many cuts and bruises did you sew up and sooth? I think you chose to be a doctor not just heal people's bodies, but with your calm, gentle words, to heal their spirits.
My first memory of you is teaching me to doggy paddle, empowering me to explore the water on my own, showing me the importance of independence and trust. I recall you holding the back of my bike as I struggled to get my balance. I remember you packing us up for family trips and teaching us the importance of frugality by doing things yourself—like fixing that troublesome van again, and again, and again. You only ever splurged one day of the year. I’ll never forget the light in your eyes on Christmas morning as you watched us filter into the living room and shriek for joy.
You taught us the scriptures. They have been a source of comfort and strength in hard times, a place for seeking answers when I earnestly needed to know truth, and in times without you.
The greatest lesson I learned from you, Dad, is the lesson of family. Because you loved us, you lived your life in such a way that we could one day be together forever, and showed us the way.
I love you, Dad. Thank you for the legacy you left me. When this life is done I will gladly step beyond, knowing that my father waits with a welcoming embrace. I look forward to that day.
Stephen Lloyd Hicken was born May 17, 1950 and is a beloved son, husband and father. He served a mission in Brazil, four years in the air force, as a scout master for 20+ years, and as a doctor. On November 20, 2004 he left this life after a three year battle with lung cancer. He is greatly missed; loved, but not lost.