Tuesday, October 13, 2009

8 years

I'm going to warn you now...this is a sad post.

Eight years ago today, my father passed away. I miss him more and more everyday! I wish I could post some pics of this amazing man, but unfortunately I don't have any digital copies. (and my scanner doesn't like me lately)

Only July 9, 1915 Frank Wymon Parker was born to John and Sarah Elizabeth Parker. He was the youngest of 5 boys, but did have one sister born a few years later.

He served in the 2nd World War via the United States Army, stationed in California.

After serving his time, he drove a tractor trailor truck and a Greyhound Bus for many years.

He married his first wife Anna Louise sometime in his thirties but didn't have any children, as she had 2 daughters from a previous marriage.

In the 70s, he and Anna were driving through Tennessee and found land for sale. They decided to move from California to Tennessee and bought a farm. Shortly after moving to Tennessee, they were divorced.

He stayed single until 1978 when he met and began to date my mother, Wilma Louise. They were married on October 18, 1979. She had one son, my wonderful brother Woody and didn't plan on any other children. My mom had major heart problems and was told she shouldn't have any more children. In January of 1980, she wasn't feeling well and went to the doctor...to everyone's surprise, it wasn't a heart issue, it was a baby! She was pregnant with me. I was born on October 14, 1980. My mother was 42 and my father was 65!!!!

You can imagine how excited my father was when he found out she was pregnant. Yes, he had my brother which he took in as his own and loved very much, but at 65 years of age, he never thought he would have a child of his own flesh and blood.

My mom's pregancy was pretty normal, aside from the heart issues that she had to monitor. Shortly after I was born, however, she had a major stroke. This left her paralyzed in her left side. Amazingly enough, she was still able to sew gorgeous dresses for me...which I still have a few. When I was in Kindergarton, she went into a coma. After that, she never was really well. She died on October 25, 1990. Eleven days after my 10th birthday.

At 75 my father found himself as a single parent! Not only was he having to deal with losing the love of his life, but he was going to have to raise a little girl by himself. I can't say I agreed with all the things he did, but I think I turned out to be a pretty decent person. I made good grades in school and have a great job, a wonderful husband, and a beautiful daughter.

Unfortunately, my father didn't get to join in much of my joy...in February of 2001, he went in to have a kidney removed (it was 95% covered with cancer) and have the aneurysm in the aorta of his stomach fixed. (Not sure exactly what they do when they fix an aneurysm) We spent the night at the hospital the night before his surgery. The nurse came to our room to get him. We thought we would get to see each other before he actually went under, so I just told him bye and I would see him in a little bit.  We always gave each other a kiss and told each other we loved them any time one of us would leave to go somewhere, but for some reason we didn't this time. He went through his surgery and when he came out, he was asking for me. I came in to see him and he told me all he could think about was that he didn't get to give me a kiss or tell me he loved me when he left the room. So, he got his chance. He was in the ICU, so we didn't get to stay long. Between that visit and the next time we saw him, he had a stroke. He barely recognized me after that. We went through months of him going in and out of reality. He had Alzheimer's and it set on full force when he had his stroke.

He was able to go home a few weeks after surgery, but in August ended up back in the hospital. His stroke had done something to his esophogus, which made him have a hard time eating. He was 6'1" and 190 pounds +/- when he had his first surgery. He was down to 85 pounds! We brought this problem up on every doctor visit, but no one seemed to be able to get anything done. It was his heart doctor that finally got the other doctors to listen. A feeding tube was put in place and he seemed to get better. He was too weak to go home, so we had to put him in a nursing home. I absolutely hated doing it, but I didn't really have a choice. I couldn't take care of him and didn't have anyone else that could.

The last time I saw my father, he thought he was 5 or 6 years old. He told me about playing in the hay with his sister and getting in trouble. By this time, I just went along with the story and I'm glad I did. That was on October 11, 2001. I didn't get to go see him on October 12, because I got home late from work and had to get up early the next day. (It sounds like such a pitiful excuse now.) I went to bed around 10:00 that night. At about 1:00 in the morning, my husband woke me up to tell me that my father was gone. It was October 13, 2001...the day before my 21st birthday. My father was 86 years old!

He wanted to be cremated, so after an open casket ceremony he was sent to be cremated. On Father's Day of 2002, we took him to Burnsville, North Carolina (where he grew up) to spread his ashes on Mount Mitchell. The wind started blowing when I poured them out and the ashes flew across the mountain side. My husband took a picture, because it was really beautiful. When we got the pictures developed, we were amazed...in the ashes was the outline of an angel! It wasn't a camera trick or a mind game. I showed the picture to friends and never said a word. Everyone that sees it points out the angel. I felt heavy for months after he died, but after we spread his ashes, it was like a weight was lifted. I now know that he was hanging around until we fulfilled his last request. (When I get my scanner up and running, I'll add some pictures. )

I didn't tell you this story to make you sad. I told this story, because my father was truly amazing and I love him so very much!!! I'm sure there are others out there that have a similar story. It helps to know you're not alone.

1 comment:

Grand Occasions said...

Hey Annette! A story that is oh so very similar. The Lord has given us a wonderful thing called memories that keep them near to us. Talk to you soon.
Hugs,
Elizabeth