December 13, 2014 2 Comments
My dad passed from this earth on March 8, 1996. In reality it seems like yesterday. I miss him every day. Today I am the same age, to the day, he was the day he died. I had seen him just three days before. It was my birthday, March 5, 1996. He was sick and unable to get out so I had gone by his house to visit. To the very end he was always positive. On that day he was talking about what he was planning to do with his business for the next few years. Little did I realize this would be the last time I would visit with him on this earth. If I had known I certainly would have treasured the moment. I’m not sure how to explain my feelings at this point. The memories are both a blessing and a curse. They make me feel blessed to recall but at the same time feel my eyes with tears.
Dad left so many memories behind for so many people. I know he was a man who made so many of the same mistakes most us make, but he left an influence in my life that will be there for as long as I live. There are memories that burn vivid in my mind. Please allow me to share just a few of the things that will always be with me as long as I keep my mind. Thank you for bearing with me as I walk down memory lane:
- I remember sharing a last basketball game together with him. Even though he was very sick, he wanted to watch my son Kevin play. Kevin was in ninth grade and they were playing a small high school called “Appalachian”. It was a home game for us and there wasn’t room on the home side, so he and I sat on the visitors side. He always called Kevin his “main man”. Dad love Kevin and wanted to see his grandson play. I feel blessed to have been able to enjoy the game and time together. This was about a month before he died.
- I remember a few really important things that are tied together. Three years before dad died he called me after I had gotten in from work. He asked me what I was doing and did I think I would have time to baptize him into the Lord that night. That was a very happy night for me and for my family. A year or so later dad was really beginning to get very sick. He told me he wished he had obeyed the gospel much earlier in life. He then said if he did get better he was going to do all he could to be an influence for good in the life of others.
- I remember the first and last time I heard him pray. I was preaching for the Attalla church of Christ. My mom and dad visited with us on a Sunday morning. They called on dad to lead the closing prayer. I think it was the best prayer I have ever heard anyone pray. I have never been prouder of anyone than I was of my dad on that day.
- I remember as dad was nearing death, he asked a favor from me. Dad didn’t ask for much, but he had a cousin he loved named J. B. Kimberly. Dad knew he was probably dying and asked me to do the best I could to teach him the gospel. I would teach as I had opportunity but J.B. was nearing 80 and was not normally one who gave much thought to religion. Some time after dad had died, I received a call from JB’s house to come down. This was on Sunday before JB died on Thursday. I took Kevin with me. We talked with him about the Lord and his need to become a Christian. After we talked, Kevin and I prayed with him and baptized him that very day. Dad was buried near where J. B. lived. Kevin and I stopped by dad’s grave and told him about what had happened that day. I’m sure he is still smiling.
- I remember so many truths about life that Dad taught me: I remember him telling me that when times got hard you had the same friends you had when times were good, it’s just that now you know who they are. If I was having a hard time with something dad would say, “Don’t worry so much, it won’t matter a hundred years from now.” If I was trying to make a decision on something and he wanted to give a little advice he would say, “In case you want to know, I’ve already bought that experience.”
- I remember something dad did every single night for the last year or so of his life. I would get in from work and he would call me within five minutes of my getting home. He would always call to discuss the day. When we would get ready to hang up he would always make the same statement. He would say, “I’ll call you if you need me.” I know that was a silly thing to say but I certainly wish you would call me dad, I certainly need to talk with you today.
Thank you for allowing me to take you down memory lane. Please pay attention to all of those you love. Treat each day as if it is your last with them because one day it will be.
Dad I never got to say goodbye so I’ll say it now. Goodbye. I miss you so much. I’ll always love you. Your Son, Dell