Tarheeltalker

January 21, 1977

It was a cold Friday night and my wife and I, only married a few years were home watching The Love Boat on television, guess it seemed like a good idea at the time. For an evening in which I remember so much, I cannot remember which sister called and said  come to the hospital quickly, Daddy just died. Just writing that phrase gives me a slight chill for 32 years later it can still seem just like yesterday.

There is so  much I would like to say about that time and the lessons that I learned or memories that I hold to so  tenaciously. I remember arriving at the hospital and standing in a huddle in a hallway with my wife and sisters and being  completely unable to cry . Someone must have called our pastor, Dr Ken Altom, the first pastor I had who I could also call a dear friend. I remember so vividly walking down a long hallway with him as we chatted. We reached the end of the hall and he told to put my foot on his knee as he bent over to tie my shoe. At that, I just completely broke down and learned from him that men  can and do cry in public and there  is no shame to  it .He then told me it was time to be strong for my family. I sincerely hope that I lived up to those words in the  days that followed.

I must go back and forward for a moment. Many times in the days that followed Daddy’s death there  were times to talk and remember and reflect. Let me hasten to say that they were not all  bad.  But ,sad  to say, a memory of that is recounting to someone my last words to my dad. At the time, I had no idea they would be such, for none of us , I don’t think knew he end was so near.Anyway, I remember telling him about supper that night at my oldest sister’s and how I was allowed to eat all the french fries that I wanted. And he smiled. Looking back, that still seems as such an inane thing to say, After all, I wasn’t a kid at the ripe  old age of 26.

Moving on, I remember the scramble to find cemetery plots, pick out a casket and the bitterly cold day of the funeral on the 23rd. For a family who was so unprepared , it all went so fast. Days later, the final hospital bill arrived and I recall having to look at it in  detail as those cold facts and figures detailed the medical effort to try and sustain his life. I often wonder what I was trying to find.  Perhaps, those memories come back every time I see television docs employ such lifesaving measures.

For the rest of my family who experienced those days, I hope I did them some justice.

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January 21, 2009 - Posted by | Family | , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. It truly is amazing what we remember at times like this. Wish we had had many more years with your dad. He had so much love to go around. I felt blessed to be considered the “5th daughter” in such a wonderful family.

    Comment by Laura | January 23, 2009 | Reply

  2. Just want to add a comment. You do now, and always have done, your family justice. I remember so well that Friday night. The memories are sad and sweet at the same time.
    Thanks for being you. Dada (also known as Glenda)

    Comment by Dada | January 24, 2009 | Reply

  3. Thanks for adding this page to your blog. I had many thoughts about our daddy this week on the 21st and this made it special when I read your comments. Yes, you did our family justice and I remember that Friday night also. But we do have so many good memories to think about. I am proud of you, bro. teddy bear sis

    Comment by teddy bear sis | January 25, 2009 | Reply


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