Thursday, March 20, 2008

My daddy.

I've had the pictures in this post for months now, tryin' to be smart and come up with a eulogy ahead of the event, thinking I'd be too torn up to do it after the fact. Well, here it is. The fact is a fact now. My daddy passed away in his sleep at the hospital at about 11AM today.

Mom had spent the morning with him and says that he'd gotten much better. He was awake and alert, and his mind was clear. When the food was brought in for him he surprised my mom by eating and drinking it all. When a nurse came in to ask him questions (they'd been told he was suffering from dementia), he gave her a sinister look, as if to say "Of course I know that. What the hell business is that of yours?", and answered all her questions accurately.

Mom was thinking everything would be Ok when dad gave her the signal that he was ready for a nap and she should go home. Within an hour of that the hospital was calling her telling her that his heart had stopped and they were trying to revive him. I was up in Gatesville, shooting my new carbine with my buddy Dave when they called me. They said mom was on her way to the hospital and that they were still working on dad.

Dave was sitting ready to shoot my rifle when the call came, so I told him to go ahead and blast away and we'd get the hell outa there. By the time we'd gotten the truck half way back to his house from his back 40 the hospital was calling me again saying they couldn't revive him and that my father was dead. I guess I was in shock, because I took the news very matter-of-factly. The reality of it didn't hit me for a while. I was half way from Gatesville to Temple before the sobbing and tears hit me, to the point where I was afraid to drive for fear of being blinded by the tears.

I made several calls along that 30 minute drive, telling relatives that he'd passed. I called Mushy, who's become the next best thing to a brother to me, and then he sent out the word to the rest of my blogging friends. The words you guys have expressed since then have warmed my heart, and I'll make sure my mom and sis hear them too.

I've got other stuff I need to do now, so rather than go on I'll just show you some pictures of dad, beginning with this one.

It's one of my favorites. It's a shot of him (in the middle) with his older brother Sam and his father, taken some time in the late 1920s while that sat in the cotton field my grandfather tilled as a Tennant Farmer (dad was born in July of 1922).

Here's dad and I, in 1960, taken in Bermuda where I was born.

This is Dad and his brothers in about 1978, at a Wilson Family reunion.

This is Dad and I after a golf game, some time around 1992 or 3.

This is dad, sitting in the kitchen of their house in Temple, reading the paper with his buddy Rascal in his lap. I think it was taken about 1996.

This is a shot I took with my phone on Fathers Day of last year, as we were waiting to get a table at The Outback Steakhouse in Killeen.

And this is one of my favorites. I took this Christmas before last. I think the look in his eye, the humor, the look of mischief, captures his spirit better than any other picture we took in many years.

He was still pretty clear headed then. He's young again now, sitting here at my side while I type this. He'll always be with me, wherever I go. I miss you daddy, but I've been missing the real you for a long time now. Now you can shine again. You can get together with your old pals and play golf again. We'll see each other again, and we'll do all the things you always wanted to do. You don't have to worry about anything. I'll take care of mama and Margaret. Everything is gonna be fine. You did your job, better than anyone else I know. Now I have to do mine. Rest. Rest in peace. You've earned it.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

man i am so sorry to read this and it made me cry. he is so proud of you and i am too. condolences my friend.

hugs, bee

Sarge Charlie said...

I do not know how to express the sorrow I feel for you and your family, when my mom died I could only think of her favorite song

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see

your post shows lots of happy memories, that is what we have my friend, I can still hear my mother singing the song...very badly but that did not matter.

I will be puting up a post for you.

Julie said...

I'm so sorry. I love the post and the pictures. Your love for him was and is evident. Lots of good thoughts coming your way.

Christina RN LMT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina RN LMT said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, FHB. My condolences to you and your family.

You are a wonderful son!

Grandpa-Old Soldier said...

You are a good son, and he knew/knows it. I have followed your posts about your Daddy for a while, and it brought me back to the time I missed with mine. He is at rest now and you will never forget the times you had with him. I often think about life this way. On the rough and rugged road, I saw the pathway of human life beset with trials, temtations and hardships, all terminating in the grave, the end for earthly ambitions. May he rest in peace.

Jerry in Texas said...

So sorry for your loss. Take care of Mom and Sis.

You are gonna be so glad that you documented all your Friday evenings together. You're a good son, Jeff.

Rest in Peace, Mr. W!!

Chuck said...

Jeff, I haven't been 'round the blogosphere much lately so I took some time to read a few blogs tonight. I must say I was shocked to read about your loss and I'm so sorry. I think the relationship you had with your Dad is great. It reminds me a lot of me and my dad. I can't imagine the pain and heartache you, your Mom and sis must be feeling. You're in my thoughts man. God bless you all and may your dad rest in peace.

Lin said...

You already know how we feel, Jeff, and you know where to find me if you just feel like talking ... any time.

But I'll say this again - may God bless, heal and watch over you all.

J said...

I'm so terribly sorry for your loss. I know that no words can make anything better for you right now, but please know you and your family are all in my thoughts and prayers. Your dad always sounded like a really great guy, and I know that he will be dearly missed. I will be thinking of you both next time I go and sneak a Dr.Pepper. :)

Feel free to let me know if there is anything I can do to help. )I know you won't, but the offer still stands.)

Hugs to you and yours.

Joe said...

You and your family are in my prayers. My deepest sympathy for your loss.

honkeie said...

Sounds like you dad was one hell of a guy and I very sorry he had to go. I hope my sons will write something like this for me went its my time to go.
Best of wishes...a displaced Texan-
Honkeie said...

All I can say is that was beautiful man...I love ya.

Ralph said...

Sorry to hear about your Fathers passing. That is a good post you wrote and some great pictures. That last picture is great.
Got here via Jerry.
Again, sorry.

RiverPoet said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It is so hard to lose a parent, but it is amazing to me the clarity they have just before they pass away. I had the same thing with my mom, whom I wrote about on March 11, the 2nd anniversary of her death.

The last thing my dad did before he died was to call the nurse's station. When they answered, he said, "It's okay. Everything's going to be alright now." When they came to check on him, he was gone.

Take the time you need to grieve. This loss with stay with you for awhile, but hang onto those good memories...

Peace - D

(p.s. - I found you through David McMahon's blog)

Walrilla said...

Our deepest condolences to you and your family. It's hard to lose a parent, I lost my father in 1989. The feeling of loss never goes away, but eventually it does get better.

Again, We are sorry for your loss.


*Goddess* said...

Again, I'm sorry to hear about your dad, but the photo tribute was a wonderful idea. I love the one of him and the dog. They both look quite comfortable:)

Hope your mom is doing ok.

JDP said...

FHB I am so sorry for your loss. Your dad was a great father and you are a great son. You two had a special relationship. Cherish the memories and the love. Will be keeping you and yours in my prayers. God Bless.


Suldog said...

Jeff - My Dad passed back in '94, so I know some of the pain you're going through. From reading your post, I know that you already understand that he's in a good place and that you'll hook up again someday. Hold that in your heart. It's the truth.

God bless.

Jim (Suldog)

aims said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Your beautiful words and your beautiful pictures have brought me to tears.

It has also brought back to me the loss of my own father and how much that hurts. Nothing compares to not being able to ask your parents questions when you need to. Nothing compares to feeling like an orphan when they are both gone. Cherish your mother - she'll need you.

Your memories will be your strength....thank you for this.

Ralphd00d said...

My condolences to you and your family on the loss.

Todd said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. Losing a father is about the worst you can go through.

GUYK said...

I am so sorry for your loss my friend. Those of us who have been there know there is just no replacement for our Dads but they will always be in our memories. said...

I just spoke with Jeff and he is still being very strong, as well as his mom. Apparently, his sister is taking it the hardest at this time.

Jeff said they will receive friends tonight in Temple with a private graveside service tomorrow.

My prayers are with him and his family.

I posted the eulogy Jeff wrote for the papers, and it is very moving.

Buck said...

My condolences, Jeff. God be with you and yours.

The photos are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

My condolences as well

david mcmahon said...

Dear, dear FHB,

Heard about your Dad's passing from Mushy. I'm in Sydney without email access, so this was the quickest way to send you my love, support and to pay my respects to your Dad.

If I were there with you, I would be by your side and by your Mum's side.

But I'm thousands of miles away and want you to know how VERY much I care.

God bless


Pat Houseworth said...

No matter what age, or how they go, it is never easy...."for everything there is a reason"

God Bless your family.


Anonymous said...

Jeff, I am so sorry to read this news. You and your family are in our prayers. And thanks for sharing your love of your father with us.

NotClauswitz said...

God bless you and your Dad. I'm very sorry to hear of his passing but grateful that it wasn't a four-day ordeal or fraught with the other things that take away so heavily from your better memories.
Our love to you, and thank you for sharing so many of the choice moments you had with him.
One of my older shooting-club buddies has the same damn dog as Rascal, they are close companions and I fear for the day I lose either.

Anonymous said...

Take Care, my friend Jeff. You love and loved your Dad well and he knows it better than any of us. I also like that last picture or your dad. I remember so well the ones you posted with your first haircut, etc., (that set). They've been some of my favorites. Through your posts I feel as if I know your family and thanks so much for sharing the real human side of your wonderful self, family and Denise with us. Thinking of all of you in this difficult time. Kay Fleming

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. What a loving post you wrote for your daddy. The pictures are wonderful. I'll be keeping your family in my prayers.


phlegmfatale said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Jeff. I've really enjoyed your Friday Chinese food ritual with your pa, and I know it was a precious custom for him, too. Bless you and your family at this time, and may you be sustained by your warm memories of him.

Akelamalu said...

This is my first visit to your blog, I followed a link someone left on Authorblog.

Your words about your father reduced me to tears my friend. I am thankful I still have my father, though it was touch and go a short while back. You have some wonderful memories and yes, you are right, he will always be with you. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

Erica said...

Please accept my deepest condolences to you and your family.

The photo of him in the checkered jammies with the paper and "Rascal"...I don't think any one photo I've ever seen in my life could sum up the meaning of being a Dad more than that one.

He sounds like he was a wonderful man. So sorry for your loss.

Cath said...

I called over from Mushy's after seeing his interview on David's blog.

Just wanted to pass on my condolences and tell you what a beautiful post that is and the photos are great. You are right - you see the character of the man in that last one. He looks a great man.


Mike Golch said...

these pictures are great to look at.I'm sorry that he has passed away.
on a personal note Father's day 1984 will always be special to me.That was the last father's Day Dad and I spent together,he died of a heart attack August 14 1984 at the young age of 58.

Kevin said...

You have my deepest condolences. I'm so sorry, FHB. I can't imagine what you must be going through right now.

Zelda said...

That was beautiful. You made me tear up. I'm so sorry for your loss. My condolences to both you and your family.

John Enright said...

I'm very sorry. May he always be with you in spirit.

Dazd said...

You and your family are in my prayers. My deepest sympathy for your loss.