Strong. Unwavering. Bold. Fearless. These are words I would use to describe my dad, or “Deddy”, as it has been for as long as I could remember. When I was very little, I was just like any girl and head over heels for my dad. He would take me and my sis and brother and throw us WAY up in the air, I was convinced he could help me fly. He seemed to be gone a lot, as he was a Captain in the Army, and was frequently off in training or the like. I can remember when he’d return home again and us kids would nearly bust the door down to get at him so we could smother him with hugs. Dad is also very playful, and would let each of us sit on his feet and ride while he stomped around the living room. It was way better than any carnival ride!
As a family, we’d frequent the beach or lake for fun times – the same thing that his own dad [my wonderful late Pawpaw] did with them while they were growing up. I can remember being 4 years old, putting on my tube float and arm floats and hopping on dad’s back as he took me way out to the deeper part of the ocean. He has always been an excellent swimmer, like a fish in water. The strong, big waves were crashing around us but I just zipped right over and through them, holding on tight, all as he expertly swam through it all. Was I scared? Kinda, but felt comfort knowing that Deddy knew what he was doing and had me.
My teen years came and went with a ton of problems, me and dad always butting heads because I guess we were a lot alike. Most of it, I wish had never happened. I know we both have regrets. Mistakes were made, but forgiveness and love were given. Life lessons were learned.
Dad’s dad died a few years ago, back in 2007, and none of us ever saw that coming. Pawpaw always took such great care of himself and was a farmer…a Jack of all trades…and kept in excellent shape. I will never forget him jumping off the diving board in his mid-seventies – barely upsetting the water as he sliced right in with his body. Geez…I’ve never been able to do THAT and I was decades younger! So we were all shocked and horrified when pancreatic cancer took his life in February of that year, at just 77 years old. I think my dad took it the hardest. Pawpaw was his best friend and his rock, someone he constantly learned from and was always eager to hang out with. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard dad say, pushing past tears, that he would literally give anything to talk to his dad again.
And now, I feel that my own dad’s life could be on the line. He’s been recently suffering through debilitating headaches, gripping his head in pain and trying to be strong through it all…but you can’t continue when headaches leave you aching in pain and double vision is enough to drive anyone loopy. So first he saw a doctor, then a specialist. It was then that they determined he has one of two probable things going on: he’s either got some type of strain similar to what he had years ago when he developed Bell’s Palsy, or it could be a brain aneurysm. Tomorrow morning, he goes to the doctor to find out. If it’s the former, then it most likely will run its course and then he will return to normal. If it is the latter, then dad will be whisked away into emergency brain surgery and there are definite risks involved. Risks that are too painful for me to think about, let alone discuss. Apparently, dad has an aunt somewhere that died of the same thing. Why am I just now finding out about this? Because people don’t like to talk about it, including me, but we must anyway.
But what I most want to talk about is the fact that if something were to happen to my dad and I didn’t know for a FACT that he knew how desperately much I love him and adore him and have always looked up to him all my life…if I didn’t know for sure that he KNEW how much I respect him for always working so, so hard for our family – even taking on 2 or 3 jobs at a time to make ends meet and have something leftover, and even did it without thinking twice or complaining to us [he had the best example in Pawpaw!]… He always made sacrifices for us. If he didn’t realize how proud I always was of him all those years he put all his extra efforts into preaching and teaching, pastoring a small church and trying to help people live better lives, befriending forgotten old souls in nursing homes, praying beside hospital beds and comforting in funeral services… Or that he is TRULY an excellent drummer and was given a divine gift for rhythm… Or all those years, I battled incessantly with severe panic attacks, unable to drive a car or function through the worst of it, and he was always the first by my side to help calm me, talk to me, be my friend – and it was years later that i learned he, too, suffered sometimes with the same thing, but who helped him? He never let on. My dad has taught me how to stand up for people, to be bold and firm in the face of difficulty. He’s taught me that even when something doesn’t seem to be working, you keep trying until you break through on the other side. He taught me to never give up. He’s taught me to love learning, researching answers I need, and to apply myself. He told me that I could learn anything and do anything that I wanted if I applied myself, and I believed him. I have taught myself how to do many different things, and his words were my inspiration. In the past year of my life, he has really stood up for me and gone out of his way countless times to help me continue to breathe and stand through the worst time of my life, when I was so weak and broken and didn’t even know if I could even keep on living, he was there for me through it all. He’s always been the strong one, in every way. Dad, I want you to realize it all – what an inspiration you’ve been, not only in my life, but many others could say the same as well. You are blessed, you are loved, and there are a whole lot of people praying for your healing during this time.
How could I live without my dad? I don’t want to find out anytime soon. He needs to stick around a lot longer. Please – I beg – keep him and our family in your thoughts and prayers.