Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Remembering Dad: Apr 5, 1950 - Feb 11, 2005

On February 11, 2005 at approximately 9pm, I received a call from my brother Layton that Dad had fallen over and wasn't getting up. In my mind I was imagining him on the floor, awake and talking, with a hurt back or a possible stroke. I immediately jumped in my car and drove to Grand Bay to find my family crying and my Dad on his bed, lifeless. I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest in an instant, as if oxygen was being sucked out of my body as I struggled to take a breath. But I was still alive, left to feel the shock and the pain.

As I sat there with him by the bed, my life flashed before me as I thought about his. He was the lone survivor of a dozen babies in his community who were stricken with Polio. Told that he would never walk again, my family rallied together and worked with his legs day and night in order to strengthen them. Miraculously, he began walking with the assistance of braces on his legs. In elementary school, he was bat boy for the local softball team. Eventually the braces came off, and although he walked with a severe limp, he didn't let it stop him. He danced, he played softball, he worked full time at Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, and he had seven children. His motto was "What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger".

People often say that you are either a lover or a fighter. My Dad insisted on being both.

So now, four years later, I think about my brothers and sisters. Dad was very involved in their lives, and it hurts me that they have been robbed of that. But my brothers and sisters are amazingly strong and wonderfully special people. My brothers are the most sensitive, considerate, protective, and loving men I have ever known. My sisters are strong-willed, thoughtful, passionate, and extremely talented. I have learned something from all of my brothers and sisters, and I am so very proud of them. Each one of us have been through the wringer as a family and in our individual lives. We know tragedy, pain, and hard times very well. But by the grace of God and our own stubbornness, we walk through these dark valleys, believing that it is all a part of a plan...a blueprint that shapes our lives and makes us who we are.

People often say that you are either a lover or a fighter. We insist on being both.

May all who read this today be encouraged to stand strong, be grateful for all that you have, live well, laugh often, love each other, and embrace life.


To embrace life is to truly live
Never taking more than what you give

Listen to the sound of a rushing wave
Sit at the park and watch children play

Rejoice when a newborn baby cries
Weep with a friend when their loved one dies

Cherish the dawn of each new day
Choose to see the world in a different way

Sacrifice to help your fellow brother
Live well, laugh often, and love each other

Never taking more than what you give
To embrace life is to truly live

~KB © 2008

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