Monday, April 01, 2013

Twenty years.

Twenty years ago today, Daddy died.

In some ways it's crazy to think he's been gone that long (two decades!), but when I consider all that's happened since, I can believe it. When he died, Bill Clinton was president, our car phone resided in a bulky black bag, and I was still more than a year away from having one of those fancy-pants dial-up modems. He died before Brett and I got married, before Ryan and Katie were born, before mortgages and migraines. So yes, 20 years seems about right in that sense.

But since August 22, I have felt his loss more acutely. Losing Mom has meant reliving the grief we felt in those first few years after he died. Plus, she wore his memory on her sleeve. I couldn't look at her without seeing her partner, her soulmate. Going through Mom's belongings has also helped to stir up memories of my sweet father.

One particular item I found is a notepad. On it, in my father's handwriting, is his brief autobiography. He wrote it around 1982; I was 14. I plan to transcribe it all eventually, but for now, here's an excerpt. These are Daddy's words:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Everywhere I have lived I have had to cope with bruises, aches, and pains. Bleeding in my joints has caused them to become stiff. Hardly a day goes by that I do not experience severe pain. These experiences throughout my life affect the way I respond to others. I can empathize with those who suffer pain. I can understand how those with various disabilities must feel rejection.

Nancy and I have been blessed with a beautiful daughter... We have appreciated what each year brings with her. I know that my being a hemophiliac is a source of concern and sometimes embarrassment to her. It hurts me when I have to tell her again and again, "My leg is sore," or "My arms are sore." She deserves a physically well father.

Nancy and Charis both make living so much easier. I am a businessman, and I must work many times when I physically can hardly move. My wife and daughter encourage me. They help me with my IVs at home, thus avoiding exorbitant hospital visits.

My inability to perform in the same way other fathers do causes Charis to sometimes wish I was more healthy. I'm sure that many of her feelings are a secret known only to her.

As a father and husband, I try to provide well for my family. I would never want anyone to feel I am incapable of providing for my family. Sympathy I do not need. I understand and know well my limitations. I have to the best of my ability learned to live with them.

I owe so much to so many. Above all, God has continued to bless me and gives me so many opportunities every day. I will continue to serve Him regardless of the state of health I may possess.

My parents mean so much to me. Although they sometimes worry themselves unnecessarily about my welfare, they have always stood by me and us. They have been so supportive in my efforts to succeed.

Nancy will always stand taller than any other person living. She knew what she was getting into when we married. She has put up with all of my shortcomings. When I have a bleeding difficulty, she no doubt has more answers than anyone else. She trained herself in our home-infusion program. She has lost many nights of sleep because I was in such pain that I could not lie still. On and on I could go, telling of her merits. She is so supportive when others try to talk down to me. My work as a minister is definitely enhanced by a wife like her.

Our daughter, Charis, means more to us than words can express. Being 14 years old, she is academically gifted. I'm proud of her and enjoy telling others of her achievements. I look forward to her completing college and giving me a son-in-law. I believe she will be a spiritually enlightened person. Her mother and I have tried to give her the spiritual guidance she needs.

So many friends have been uplifting at times when I reached lows in the valleys of emotional welfare, too numerous to mention. Let it suffice to say that with friends to lean on, there would have been many times I do not believe I could have continued on.

Hemophilia is not a fun disease. It is one you can truly live with. You watch carefully each moment you live. You will not live recklessly or carelessly, but you do whatever you feel you can.

I have overcome many obstacles. The odds were against me. Today's modern technology gives hemophiliacs even more hope. I overcame; others will, too.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'll never tire of hearing Daddy's voice, and through these words, I can hear him. What a blessing! I'm so proud of the way he coped with adversity and pain. I'm thankful for the way he affirms Mom and me here, too. But when he writes that I deserved a "physically well father"? He should know that I did not "deserve" him; he was a far greater father than anyone could ever merit. Oh sure, he drove me crazy, but I'm overwhelmed with gratitude when I think of all he did for me.

Please excuse the back-to-back maudlin posts! It ain't all about the grief over here, but these last few days have merited a little extra writing, a.k.a. "cheap therapy."

Other Daddy posts:
The 2008 tribute (my favorite)
A celebration of fathers (Father's Day 2010)
"A Sketch of Jim" (my grandmother's account of Daddy's childhood)

1 comment:

Tami said...

Always love your posts. This reminds me to be grateful. :)