April 1, 2010. That date will stay for me forever. That is the day daddy died. I will remember that day forever. I was living with mom at the time while I was going through the separation with Deb. I could have gotten an apartment but with mom’s health, I decided to stay with her for a while. I was headed out for a marriage counseling session when my sister hollered at me to take the phone and that she thought daddy had died. I took the phone and they told me that daddy had expired in his sleep. Daddy, or as I called him, pops had had dementia for years and had pneumonia two or three times earlier in the year. My sister was devastated, I was shocked and mom was hurt beyond words. What would happen over the next six months changed my life, and our family, forever.
Dad was a very soft spoken man. He always worked hard to provide for his family. He received numerous awards for not missing work. He loved even though at times I know he wondered if others loved back.
I remember many things about pops.
- He loved his garden. He would spend many hours planting, weeding, tending and talking about his garden. He would stand at the fence and talk to WR (Pud) Bass about their gardens.
- He loved his yard. He would mow the yard and take care of it. When I would mow, he would make sure I did it to his requirements. It was his way of getting me to do things right.
- He went to church every time the doors were open. While he wasn’t preachy about it, he set the tone early on that church and God should be part of our lives.
Only after mom’s death a mere four and a half months later, did I realize the depth of devotion to our family.
I was fortunate to realize before his death that I wasn’t the son I should have been. I apologized to him for my shortcomings and I pray that he understood that I meant it. This is something I have had to do many people for my many shortcomings.
His death – and mom’s – taught me a few lessons that I will never forget.
- Always be there for the people that are important to you. Never let work, goals or anything else get in the way of being there for others.
- Always let others know how you feel. If you don’t, you may not get the chance. I would have loved to tell him one more time that I love him and give him a hug. I won’t make the mistake of not telling the people I care about how I feel again.
- Never keep secrets. Secrets can devastate yourself and others around you. So, if you ask me a question – especially about me – be prepared for a honest answer.
So, pops I still miss you – terribly at times. I know I told you I loved you, and I do. I wish I could have known some of the things that I know now while you were alive so that I could have helped you shoulder your burden. You didn’t deserve to shoulder it alone.
I love you daddy. I am so glad you are no longer in pain and I can’t wait to see you again in heaven.
There won’t be a podcast of this as I can’t record without breaking up. Podcasts will resume next week.