Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Facebook Statuses That Were Posted THERE This Week

Father's Day is this Sunday I was trying to think of a way to honor my Dad. While his physical being is still with us, so much of what made him himself is gone. It's like you are mourning for someone who is still here and at times, you wish for HIS SAKE that it would end. My Dad would have never wanted to be alive like this. He has so little control over his body. It is difficult for us to care for him and even harder to get people you are paying to show up and do a good job.
The care is very expensive and it is a credit to him that he saved over the years to afford it when he needed it.

My Dad was from humble beginnings. He was born in Alabama and moved to Louisiana (he pronounced it Loosiana.)
He had a very controlling mother and at the age of 17 he left and joined the Navy. He never spent more than a few nights again with his parents until the last decade of their life when he built a new home with an apartment for them on it and moved them to NJ. Dad was not a goody two shoes and got in his share of trouble which for his privacy I won't get into.
Sometime around 1950 he met my mother who was a real goody two shoes. She still says he had been drinking when she first met him and she told him she would not approve of that. She took him to her church, made him quit smoking and drinking and married him shortly after, in an elopement. Two years later my oldest brother Jimmy was born. He was named after Dad and the pride of my father's eye. A few years later I was born and Dad was thrilled to have a girl. Mom wanted to name me Candy and there were actual items with that name embroidered on it but Dad at the last minute wanted to name me after my Mom's childless aunt so I was Nelle Claire. A few years later my brother Bobby joined us then my only sister, Dottie then six years later the baby David was born. Dad, an only child, ended up father to five! He always said he didn't want us to be lonely like he was. When the first four of us were born, was a chief petty officer in the Navy. He was stationed all over and much of that time we stayed with my grandparents. Eventually we built a house around the corner from them where we lived until Dad retired. When he retired he had to work two jobs to make it with the four of us. He had been a deep sea diver in the Navy and was somewhat of an expert about "the bends". He was offered a job in New York with Union Carbide. Later Mt. Sinai Hospital hired him away from them. This was the job he stayed in until his retirement years later. We went from struggling to living "high on the hog". Thing is, Dad made a bad investment and in 1971 almost lost everything. From that time on, he became a lot more conservative with his investments and didn't invest with cows again until his retirement when he purchased a 14 acre property and built a house on it. He was finally a farmer, what I think he had always wanted. His Dad died first but not before years earlier Dad saved his life by discovering a visible aortic aneurysm and rushing him into Sinai where a vascular surgeon performed the surgery. My grandmother had Alzheimer's and at some point had to be put into a nursing home. She nearly blew up the house one day, turning the gas stove on and gas was escaping.

After Dad's retirement he took it easy around the farm and began to visit jails. He took Bibles and tried to convince the men to turn their lives around. Many of them had children and he even lent some of them money. While I questioned his judgement, after his stroke three huge men were at the rehab and they told me that they had met him when they were in jail and he had a very positive impact on their lives. They stood there praying over him and crying and thanking him.

For Facebook, I decided to post some of the things my Dad did that I was grateful for. Today was the first posting:
I am grateful that my father was generous. He often treated those less fortunate than us and did so in a way that was not embarrassing for them.
These will be some other statuses that will be posted:
When other Dads drove around in boring station wagons, my Dad bought a 1968 cherry red Fire bird and everyone envied us in it!
Dad gave me "pearls of wisdom"
"hate is not the opposite of love...apathy is." (This was invaluable during my divorce)
Another pearl:
Love is not a feeling. It starts that way, but at some point it becomes a decision.

Dad loved to tell the story of my birth "They wheeled you out nekkid as a jaybird and I saw you for the first time."
(Dad had 5 kids but I was the only one whose birth he was there for.

When I was just two and got sun poisoning I started a high fever and became delirious. When Dad got home from work he was so scared he jumped into a bathtub full of cold water holding me. He was wearing his dress uniform.

Lastly, (and through tears)
After Dad's first stroke they took him to the hospital ER. I knew it was very serious after they had read the CT scan the doctor said that he would have to learn everything over. I looked down at him with tears in my eyes and he looked up and smiled and said "Oh babe. come on. It's not that bad." Oh Dad if you only knew what was ahead......

Happy Father's Day Dad. Thank you for all the good memories.



What a wonderful tribute to your father. It brought tears to my eyes. Happy Father's Day to him.

Susan C said...

Now I can see where you got your generosity.

alphawoman said...

Oh Nelle, this made me cry. I know how hard this is. I miss my Dad every day.