Deja Vu Post - God Bless You






Today is the day where we re-post one of our blogs from 2014.  It can be your favorite, or one that you wrote during a busy time (A-Z Challenge, WRiTE CLUB, NaNoMo, etc.), or just one that you feel deserved more attention.  Whatever the reason, this is your chance for a do-over.  If you wish to see who else is participating in this awesome event...HERE is where the linky list is located.  It's not too late to sign up either.

My Deja Vu post originally aired on January 30th, and you'll soon see why I chose it.  Enjoy!






Over the last year or so my dad’s health has slowly deteriorated and he finally ran out of fight early in the morning, January 22nd. We held the funeral services this past Monday and I have to say it was wonderful ceremony. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law both stood up to share some beautiful words of remembrance, and I offered a few thoughts myself.  I wanted to share them with you here today so you might help me in honoring what were both a wonderful man…and father.
I hope to be back amongst you soon.  Until then, be safe and secure. :)

I want to start off by thanking everyone for coming out today.  I know that Dad…as modest as he was…would be surprised to see this kind of turn out. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m one the quiet one in the family - but somehow I keep finding myself up here.  After our mom passed, dad came to me and asked if I wouldn’t mind saying a few words for her at the funeral.  As strong as he was, I guess he knew he wouldn’t be able to remain composed enough to do it, but somehow he thought I could.  So here we are again, but this time he’s not around to ask me…but it seems right.  Hopefully I won’t disappoint him.

What’s been great over the last several days, especially last night, was hearing all of the stories about dad and how much he genuinely affected the people he came in contact with.  As I listened to everyone, two distinct themes kept recurring over and over.  One was CARS…and the other was how people’s impression of him changed once they got to know him better.  Dad could be quite an imposing figure…downright scary when it comes down to it…but all it took was just a little time with him to discover the teddy bear just below the surface.  Don’t get me wrong…dad could be dominating force when he needed to be.  As one of three boys growing up…believe me…I can attest to that.  But once you got by that gruff exterior you couldn’t ask for a better brother, father, son, and friend.    

I think it was fifteen years ago…Mom and Dad were living in Georgia at the time…I wrote them both a letter.  I sent it for no other reason than to thank them for being such wonderful parents.  I couldn’t say it to them in person because I knew I would choke and mess up half of what I was trying to say.  You know what it was?  Have you ever had one of those moments when you figure something out that’s been right there in front of your face the whole time, but for whatever reason it’s eluded you until it finally crystalizes in your mind?  Something that makes you go…HUH!  I had one of those when I realized that you can’t really understand your parents until you have children of your own.  You get part way there when you get married, but you don’t really fully appreciate them until you’ve experienced parenthood for yourself.  My wife Kim was expecting our third child at the time and I was seeing my parents in a whole new light, so I needed to tell them thank you.  At the same time I was beginning to understand something else about dad.  He had a way of teaching, influencing, giving direction without you knowing that’s what he was doing.  He was the master of subtlety and making you believe you’ve figured something out for yourself.        

Let me give you an example.  We’ve already mentioned cars, so let’s use that.  I can remember vividly being with dad underneath one his cars parked in front of our house in Cherry Point.  It was cold outside, a light rain was falling, there were pea-sized gravel boring holes into the back of my head and I wanted to be anywhere but there.  We were trying to remove a starter and there was this one obstinate bolt that was impossible to get to and couldn’t get a ratchet on it.  We worked for hours and hours trying to get that bolt off…me getting angrier and angrier as time went on…when suddenly it came loose and the part was free.  I learned two things that day, the first, there was NO WAY I wanted to have anything to do with repairing cars when I grew up.  But the second thing I learned…without dad saying a word…was determination.  Tenacity.  Sticking with things to the end.  HUH! 

I also learned from him that sometimes it’s what you DON’T say that really matters.  I can’t ever recall dad voicing derogatory remarks about anyone.  I’m sure he had some…don’t we all…but he mostly kept them to himself.  Sometimes I would even try to bait him…ask him a leading question about someone I knew was ripe for ridicule, but he’d just ignore me or change the subject.  HUH!  

He showed me that commitment wasn’t just a goal or something to strive for.  It was a duty.  Twenty-four years in the military.  Twenty years at AT&T.  Married for Fifty years.  The man was a constant…for everybody, but he never once bragged about it or hinted that was what a successful career was all about.  HUH!

I told a story at mom’s funeral about how I came home from college one day…heartbroken from a breakup with a girl…and poured my eyes out to mom who just calmly stroked my head and told me everything would be alright. After a while she said she needed to go to the grocery store and she drove to the nearest gas station and poured her eyes out over the phone to dad.  What I didn’t say then was that there’s a part two to that story.  It wasn’t much longer after mom returned that dad showed up at the house.  I asked him what he was doing home so early and he told me that he had this van he had been tinkering around with and since he heard I was home he’d like to take advantage of that and get me to help him with it.  I said sure…still kind of numb…so he changed his clothes and we set about tearing into the engine.  After a while mom brought us sandwiches and drinks and we ate in silence. When it turned dark and he brought out the flood lamps so we could keep going even longer.  We must have worked on that car until past midnight…and you know what…to this day I have no idea what we did to it.  But during that time dad never said a word about my break up, or asked me probing questions like “so, how’s everything going?”  It wasn’t until years later that I discovered mom had told him, but that night when I finally climbed into bed, I fell right asleep and rested peacefully.  HUH! 

The last few weeks of dad’s life you could tell he was doing his best to put on a brave face, though he was struggling and deeply discouraged.  We all were doing our best to encourage him …convince him that all he needed was to have just a couple good days in a row, that’s all it would take for him to turn the corner and he would eventually be on his way to coming home again.  But we were wrong…and once again dad found a way to show me what was right.  I was with him that last night.  He was having a relatively peaceful evening.  His nurse and I were reconnecting some leads he had pulled loose in his sleep when suddenly he sat up in his bed and sneezed hard, four times.  Instinctively three words popped into my head and before I could say them out loud…he was gone.  Later on I was trying to make sense out of what had happened…that he was truly gone…experiencing a variety of emotions all at once.  Then I thought of how weird it was he sneezed like that…four times…once for my older brother, once for my younger brother, once for my little sister, and once for me.  And those words that were on the tip of my tongue that I never got to say…God Bless You.  HUH! 

Sometimes we tend to associate meaning to things for reasons that make no sense, and I may be guilty of that here, but in my mind dad found a way to put my mind at ease with a little bit of help. 
 
I love you dad…we all do…and we’ll miss you terribly. Give mom a hug for us.

46 comments

  1. I remember that one. Your dad was a wise man.

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  2. This is an obvious heart felt post to your dad, beautifully written x

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  3. Wow -- great post to use for the Deja Vu blogfest, Don. Deeply touching -- you honestly made me tear up.

    And how on Earth did I miss this in January?!?!? I know I was not blogging much back then and just quickly throwing together pre-scheduled things, but dang -- I'm very sorry I missed the opportunity to offer my sympathy and condolences, and I'm very glad you brought this post back. I apologize that it's long after the fact, but you and your family have my thoughts and prayers.

    Beautiful post -- moving and heart-felt and wonderfully expressed! Anyone ever tell you that you should be a writer???

    Thanks for sharing and thanks also for the Deja Vu blogfest!

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  4. Thanks for sharing, D.L. It's such a tremendous blessing to have a loving, kind father.

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  5. What a beautiful post, and timely reminder of what's really important this or any time of year.

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  6. Beautiful tribute to your dad, DL.
    I'm so glad you can revisit this post and share it with us again.

    Thanks for a great blogfest!
    Heather

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  7. That's a wonderful post even the second time around! Sounds like your dad was a wonderful and smart man. God bless you too! Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

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  8. I can certainly see why you chose this and I'm so glad you did, as I hadn't seen it the first time. This is a wonderful tribute and I love the story of how he handled your breakup. They sound like amazing people!

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  9. Beautiful post DL. It really is something when we realize all the things our parents have done for us, especially the subtle acts of love and kindness that went completely under the radar. Thanks for hosting the blogfest and for re-sharing this post!

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  10. Your tribute to your Dad and your memory of his passing touched me, having lost my own dad a couple months ago. Thank you for re-sharing this.

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  11. A beautiful tribute! And I say you can give those sneezes exactly the meaning you gave them.

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  12. I remember this one. Thanks for sharing it again.

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  13. That was a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing, and for putting the blogfest together!

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  14. Having lost my mother a few weeks ago I can relate to this post.

    Thanks for hosting another year of Deja Vu.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  15. A beautiful tribute. It's such a touching post, it made me emotional . . . again. lol.

    Love the Deja Vu post idea, thanks for hosting it!!! :D

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  16. What a loving tribute DL! It made me cry. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for doing the Deja Vu Blogfest!
    Michele
    Angels Bark

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  17. This was so beautifully written, DL! I'm still wiping away the tears. I'm so sorry that you lost both of your parents. I'm sure they were both proud of your heartfelt eulogies. You truly conveyed how much your dad loved you in own special way. Thanks for hosting Deja Vu!

    Julie

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  18. DL . . . I have to admit I'm a bit speechless here. You said it all and you said it well. You brought tears to my eyes - the good kind of tears for your losses and for the losses we've all felt, for the wisdom and love from parents all over. Thanks for sharing this and thanks for hosting Deja Vu! Big Hugs! :)

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  19. Hi DL - lovely post .. I do remember this story and am so pleased you've repeated it so we can read it through again .. I'm glad you're remembering him now and in fact both your parents .. it must be lovely to be with family and friends for that farewell service .. his friends too ... Have a peaceful Christmas and New Year .. your parents have set you on the right track of life ... Hilary

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  20. What a moving tribute. Both your parents sounded like insightful, caring people. Thank you for sharing this post again.

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  21. Such a special post to share. You put heart into this post and it's noticeable. Thank you for resharing with us.

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  22. I remember this post. Very sad at the time and very sad now. Losing a parent has been the hardest part of this life so far.

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  23. Thank you for sharing this insightful remembrance. My mom died a few years after my father. I clung to her knowing she carried the identity of who I am, the source my life. Even though she was unwell, she was my rock, my foundation that kept me focused on what it meant to be part of a family, and my guide as a woman. When she died suddenly, I felt abandoned; a ship in a great void with no compass. Sometimes I still feel like that even though its been ten years since her passing. I miss them both so much. I wonder how many parents recognize their worth beyond providing a home and food. I've never been a parent and feel sad that I never took on that great task, that enormous responsibility. I believe you have become a shining example of that honor and privilege. Blessings to you, DL, and to your family.

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  24. You had great times and great memories. So good you could be there for the end. Your father will live through your memories, and through your own actions in raising your family.

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  25. What a beautiful post, so insightful and... just wonderful. I'm having trouble seeing through the tears...
    Happy Holidays, and thanks for hosting the Deja Vu Blogfest.

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  26. WOW DL., thank you so much for sharing this. I teared up a bit, especially about the 4 sneezes. If ever there was an extraordinary moment that was it. But all those experiences you related are extraordinary. I think of my long dead parents often as I know my siblings do. You'll remember them now at Christmas time. We always speak of our parents and other relatives who are not with us any longer at this time. Thank you.

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  27. What a beautiful and moving tribute (moved me to tears by the breakup paragraph). You had a wonderful father, I'm so glad you have many fond memories.

    Thank you for sharing and thank you for hosting the Deja Vu blog hop.

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  28. What a wonderful tribute to your Dad, D.L. It sounds like he was an amazing guy, and I know you're blessed to have had him in your life. Thank you for sharing your memories with us all.

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  29. Thanks for sharing the post. It is always like being hit by lightening when we finally figure out how awesome our parents were and what we learned from them.

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  30. What a loving story to re-post. It is clear your Dad was your hero. This is a wonderful tribute.

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  31. Thank you for sharing this post with us today. Your love for your dad shines through beautifully.

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  32. Your father sounds like a great person.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful post, and thank you for hosting deja-vu blogfest.

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  33. I remember reading this post - thanks for resharing.

    Sorry for being a day late visiting the blogfest though - better late than never :)

    Chippy

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  34. What a wonderful post to repost! Powerful too, and beautiful.

    I'm sorry about the delay in my post going up. I thought Blogger would auto post it but either it didn't or I hit save instead of publish. It's up now.

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  35. A treasure. It's my second time reading it and still just as powerful. You are a wonderful son.

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  36. What a beautiful tribute. I remember when you posted this the first time. Your dad sounds like he was a wonderful man, who left a mark. xo Merry Christmas, DL

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  37. This is a very touching post, DL. Thanks for (re)sharing this excellent post. I'm glad that I got the chance to read it. But hey, next time, instead of making me freaking cry, can we just go get a beer or throw a ball around or something? Dude. Anyway, thanks for the cool hop, and have a Merry Christmas.

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  38. I remember reading this when you first posted it. This was definitely worth posting again. Beautiful.

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  39. Oh wow. What a beautiful, moving tribute to your father. Your words were so touching and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your memories of your father with us. He sounds like he was an incredible man. And thank you for coming up with this blog hop—such a great idea!

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  40. I remember reading this the first time it posted and being touched by your tribute. Thanks for sharing again.

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  41. THis is so true but I've never thought it till I read it here "I had one of those when I realized that you can’t really understand your parents until you have children of your own." - so glad you chose to repost this one, and thank you for hosting this neat blogfest!

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  42. I can't thank you enough for sharing this with us. Or re-sharing I should say. My father died in 2013, in February and it will soon be two years. I think of him every day. I miss him every day. I wonder how he is every day and love when I dream about him at night. It comforts me. Your tribute to your father was so well done, I felt I was listening to you say it out loud. Brave and lovely son you are. I know he is smiling. Sorry I'm late getting here, but I did make it!

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  43. Thank you for re-sharing this post. What a wonderful you are!
    Thanks also for orchestrating this hop, and the blitzes.
    Peace to you in this new year.

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