As the few of you who actually read my blog likely know, my Daddy died on May 8th. It wasn't completely unexpected because he has had extensive heart troubles over the years, beginning with his first major heart attack in 1979. In the past several years he has been battling congestive heart failure. I don't really understand how that works, but I know he had congestive heart failure right before Jacob was born five years ago, and since then when his fluids got imbalanced he had to go back to the hospital to get them back in sync. Some of those visits were very scary. The last one was in October, and it was scary enough that I flew down to Memphis, even though I absolutely couldn't at the time. It was very worth it, and Daddy pulled out of that and ended up living over 6 more months, feeling quite well during most of that time. When he entered the hospital this time, it generally seemed like his other visits until he had two more heart "incidents", as the doctors called them. On the first incident, his defribrillater went off and stablized him, but it did not go off for the second incident. At that point, they put a big tube down his throat and were breathing for him. He coded two more times, but the doctors were able to save him. They then told us that it was likely his brain had suffered damage and that his heart was beyond repair. They said that all they could do was keep trying to save him when he codes until they couldn't. They asked us if we wanted them to continue trying to save him until we all got to Memphis. We all discussed it and decided there was no reason to make him keep going through that. None of us felt like we had left anything unsaid, so it seemed pointless and cruel to make his body endure that repeatedly while we traveled there. He died a couple of hours later.
I do not feel cheated. My Daddy led a wonderfully full and active life. He had a loving, healthy family, and he never passed up an opportunity to give us a hug or a kiss or to tell us that he loved or was proud of us. Much of the days leading up to his funeral were filled with more laughter than crying. But he will be so missed. He and my mother were married 51 years ago. He really wanted to make it to their 50th anniversary party, which he did, and oh how he enjoyed himself!
I will miss SO many things--hearing his beautiful tenor voice at church, singing his heart out; watching him sink hook shots and 3-pointers late into the summer evenings; his terrible puns (which live on in my brothers and sisters); his smell; the garden he lovingly planted each year; the little things I saw him do for my mother on a daily basis that showed me how much he loved her; his special steaks on the grill; the hugs and "I love yous" he doled out so liberally; and his hands--oh how I'll miss his big, strong age-marked, scuffed-up hands that would hold mine when we walked, and occasionally skipped. That was one of the few things we weren't satisfied with at the funeral--they put makeup on his hands to cover up what I'm sure the funeral home people saw as unsightly marks all over hands. But to us his hands were beautiful, and represented so much of what we loved about him. He was a loving, righteous, no-fuss, hard-headed, hard-working, God-fearing man. I know exactly where his spirit is now, and I hope that beautiful tenor voice is just filling up the streets of heaven.
My sister Karla and her son, Daniel.
My brother, Brent and my sister, Karla.
My niece, Kaitlyn, and me.
It was still Mother's Day weekend, so the entire family went out to eat together to honor Honey and the other mothers. One of Karla's dear friends, who couldn't be there, paid for the meal for all 20-something of us. We were so grateful.
Jacob sharing a milkshake with his cousin Matt.
Jacob being lovingly tortured by his cousin Ben, as only someone with a little brother knows how.
My poor, about to pop sister Susan and her husband, BJ. She gave birth 10 days later.