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Pie liker/Snow Hater
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I apologize in advance for my poor writing skills. :eek:

I had a dream in the January of 2005. My Dad came to me in the dream and said, "I won't be here for Christmas Bud." Turned, and walked away. It was one of those ones you remember. A message that shakes you to the core. He had Prostate cancer, that had spread to his lymph system and bones. His liver was failing too. He had battled it all for a few years, and was a few years past his due date of death they had given him. He was a survivor!
In February, he and my brother began going to church with Deb and I. They both received Christ that month.
Early summer...the Pastor came to me after service one day and said, "I have never had anything happen like this during service, but while I was leading worship, I kept getting the message that your Dad won't be here for Christmas. Does that mean anything?" I shared my dream from spring with him, and we both got rather big eyed. :icon_eek:
I immediately started getting Dads estate in order with him. (Stuff you do in preparation of death.) I watched Pop get old that year. He had never been old before, cuz he didn't have time for that. But it found him.
He was 79. Was a carpenter for most of his life. Started as a carpenters helper in the ship yards in Benton Harbor MI. at 11 years old. (1937) He was a mans man. The chief. The leader of the pack. Had no enemies. Had a work ethic that is still talked about today. (None could compare.)

It was 5 years ago today (It was a Tuesday that year.) that I got a call from my Dad. "On my way to the Hospital...thought you might want to know Bud." I met him at the ER. Went back with him through all of the stuff one goes through in an ER in that situation. Eventually they came in and said, "As soon as we get you a room, we'll send you up. You won't be going home." "For a couple day's?" we asked. "No. You won't be going home Mr. Hancock." His liver had ceased to function. We had arrived at the end.
We were blessed/fortunate that he remained himself until the last day. Meaning, he was in his right mind, so we could talk. (and we did...a lot.) Friends came. Family came. It was like watching folks pay respect to the Godfather. He was loved and respected much, by all. (If I am ever so lucky to be half the man my Pop was...I will be a great man...indeed.)
The last three days, I never left the hospital. We spoke to each other...things that could never have been said before...unfortunately because of pride, or fear, or hurt.:( He told me, "I did you wrong boy." (Mom died when I was 13...he did the best he could for a guy that was a workaholic (Cuz thats all he ever knew) and he was considerably older as a parent. (He was 42 when I was born.)
That Friday the conversation had slowed throughout the day. That night, he slipped away into a coma like state. Around 5am Saturday (Christmas Eve) he shook and coughed like he was shaking off something heavy. When he opened his eyes...they were white and clear...not the yellow that the liver had made them all week long, but healthy. He said, "Why don't you come on over here, and we can give each other a hug and a kiss, and say good bye, and I can go ahead and go." "Yes Sir." and we did...and he went right back into his sleep. The rest of that day I held his hand.
Supper time Saturday, we moved him to the Hospice House. At 12:10am. Sunday (Christmas Day 2005.) my Pop went home. The enursha of 79 years of a beating heart and breathing lungs, slowly dwindled away to still silence. (I was still holding his hand.)

God took him that day because he knew that our family would always look at Christmas as the day we got to give Jesus our most precious gift as a birthday present.

My challenge to you:
Folks...don't wait till that last week of life to make things right with the people in your life. Don't wait for dreams to tell you to get your stuff in order. Don't lay on your death bed and tell your kids, wife, friends, neighbors that you did them wrong. If you've got things happening in your life that you might possibly have any power in making them right...do it. DEAL WITH IT! Do whatever you have to do to make peace with whatever/whoever that may be. Forgive them if they did you wrong.

Thanks for letting me rant. This is another reason I haven't had much to say lately. Tis the season, and all. ;)

Merry Christmas to each of you. :)

Ray
 

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Premium Member
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A powerful, sobering message Ray. I am sorry about you Father but it sounds like you two make great use of the time he had left. Feel Blessed, I only met my Father 4 times in my whole life, his choice not mine. I have missed that my entire life, you were indeed blessed.
 

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Darkside Pastor & Addict
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Great story. Thanks for posting it. Dads, the time with your kids goes by so quick. Make the most of it. The story reminded me of the song by Mike and the Mechanics. One line was a lament of a son saying "I just wish I could have told him in the living years". Take the time to make the phone call, write the letter, have the face to face, (to say you're sorry if appropriate - it's never to late!!) Let your kids that you love and cherish them. Again kudos on the post.

Pdave:patriot:
 

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shock factor unrated
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AWESOME! this is the second Christmas without my dad and like you said, if i can be just a 1/16th of the man my dad was i'll be a just a good man! dave, i do all i can with my son (did it with my daughter as well) that i can cause it's what my dad did with me and taught me to do....Merry Christmas all!
 

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WTF, Over!
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Wow, Ray. Powerful sad and wonderful too. It sounds like you and your father developed a great relationship there. I wish I could have had something nearly as nice. My parents divorced when I was in my teens, and dad died of cancer when I was 26, living in Elgin IL, while I was in the DC region. He never told anyone he was sick until they doctor he was seeing put him in the hospital for the last time, and he was gone in 24 hours; March 5th, 1982. So much was left unsaid, and suddenly, nothing could ever could be uttered to him...
Christmas has to be tough on you, Brother, missing him the way you do, but thank you for sharing your story.
 

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Not a rant at all Ray. Hope you feel a little better sharing your story with us. My father passed 21 years ago, last week. He was only 54.

Glad you can still remember him with love and pride. No doubt your kids will look to the way you loved him, and he loved you, and know that that is how families stay strong.

A great message for those that still have the opportunity to share some love and thanks to their parents, biological, or otherwise.
Vince
 

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Ray, What a reminder! At least you had the time to spend with him.

I lost mine 10 years ago and miss him everyday, but never got the chance to say goodbye. Massive Heart attack age 56.

Enjoy everyday you have them. And Like Ray said do it now. Don't wait till its too late.
 

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That left me speechless, Ray. I began thinking, Geeze, for my family I'm the dad. Then i started to think what i could do to make my passing easier for them. Although i'm healthy as an old boar now, i am still packing 71 years on this frame. I will consider this shariing of friendship as my personal gift from you. Thank you so much.
Bry
 

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Ray....I could not finish reading your story with dry eyes....I have not talked to my Dad for several years...not that we do not get along...just always seemed to be "too busy"....

You have just made me realize that is wrong, and selfish of me.....I, too, have something to take care of that is long, long, long overdue.....
 

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sorry for your loss ray...but thank you for sharing. its a great lesson to learn and follow. we all only have a limited time to spend here, so we need to make the best of it.
 

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A Texan
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Great and inspiring story Ray. It makes one think and take stock of our situations.

I am headed there now. My dad is 91 and I started losing him around 2 years ago. His memory has all but failed. Has no short term memory what so ever - 2 to 3 minutes and the same questions and comments come again and again. It is hard to not have the man you have known as Dad for 61 years.

Just as your dad Ray my dad was self made. Poor childhood, Military during WWII (Chief Petty Officer • DI), college on the GI bill/scholarship - star athlete, teacher, Head Football Coach, High School Principal (my High School Principal - try that sometime - lots of memories) and Superintendent. He was the man always in charge of himself and everyone else and now he is not. Very difficult for me to watch and deal with. I am his adopted son - I owe this man so much and there was so much that was never said and now when I do express feelings and gratitude it has little or no meaning beyond a few minutes. I waited too late to say enough times thank you for all you did and I Love You.

I knew him as Daddy, Dad, Pop, Papa Joe ( name I called him along with my friends throughout high school ), Coach and Mr. Turner. After being away from coaching 50 years he is still addressed as Coach by many.

He touched so many lives throughout his. A resolution was just presented to the School Board at our hometown school where he retired in 1983 after 33 years to rename the newly remodeled Football Stadium in his honor. The memory loss serves a purpose here. We tell him about it, he gets all of the emotion that comes with the honor then he forgets. The great thing is we get to tell him again and get to see his reaction all over again.

I told my wife just 3 days ago, this will be our last Christmas with Dad here. I know it as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow. And that passing will soon be followed by my Mom who will not go on without him.

If you do feel a nudge and need to do something this season, please do, don't put it off until it is too late....

Merry Christmas to all ....
 

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team VTX cafe physician
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very inspiring story, Ray.....as a parents we think we dont spend enough time with our kids....I apologized to mine a few years ago....they both felt I spent plenty of time with them.....I worked very hard for many years.....now that we all are older, i'm backing down big time so I can be more available for them...of course they are very independant and less needy!! my father passed away at age 71 after a short bout with cancer....and I never really got to speak to him about things.....he was a very quiet man.......so I try to talk to my kids as much as I can about stuff......it's important to keep the lines of communication open both ways! that's what life is all about.....
 

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Ray,
A pulitzer prize winning author couldn't have said it any better than you did!! Straight from the heart my friend. Thanks for sharing and it is obvious both you and your dad made the most of the time you were given! Merry Christmas to you and Debbie and your family! Hope to see you many times in 2011!

Ron
 

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Pie liker/Snow Hater
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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you for the kind word everyone. I am humbled.
Tried answering some of you, but get tongue tied in my head while I write.

Here are a couple pics of Jesus 2005 birthday gift.

July 2005 on his 79th Birthday


1942(ish) Hawaiian Islands

His hand...and mine 1968.


His baptism June 2005.




;)
Ray
 

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Great read Ray, thank you for sharing with all of us. I was happy to see that you and your Dad made all things good before he departed. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
 
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