Do You Wish You could Hug Your Dad One More Time?

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal 16 Comments

Sandi's Father

Occasionally it’s fun to let someone else do the work for me here on One Writer’s Journal. Sandi is making a guest appearance tonight with a tribute to her father who passed on to heaven on his birthday in September some years ago. But we never forget our moms and dad. Nor should we.  I borrowed this picture from Sandi’s Facebook page to post with her words so you could see how handsome her dad was. The little girl is not Sandi but one of her sisters. Here’s what Sandi says:

It wasn’t often that all of us “children” (and I use the term “children” loosely) got together. Due to distance and work, visiting was limited, but in September of 1993, we had all gathered at Dad’s home to spend whatever time he had left to just love him and be with him. We sang hymns and read him scripture and reminded him of fun times in the past. Although he was unconscious towards the last, I truly believe that he knew we were there. I believe it was as much a healing time for us as it was for him.

I, being a realist, projected into the future and couldn’t come up with one that included not having “Dad” around. He was the glue that kept all of us together. My mother was sick a lot during our growing up years and it was, often, Daddy who got us up for school and packed our lunches and yelled a cheerful goodbye…wouldn’t you if you had eight children?! If you hurt yourself it was Dad you’d run to and tell “Dad, it hurts when I do this.” Dad’s patent answer, “well, then, don’t do that.”

It was his voice we heard on Sunday mornings as he stood in the hallway between the bedrooms “everybody up for Sunday School.” Never an argument from any of us…maybe a groan or two, but to live in his house was to worship the Lord…especially on Sunday morning. He was a lay speaker for the church and after he retired from the coal mines, he ministered to two churches of his own along with being a speaker in others. He and my mom sang in a quartet and he could whistle quite a tune. (He could also tap dance–he had music in his soul).

He was a very handsome man and loved to get “spiffed up.” In his later years he was a bit scary with some of the outfits he’d wear. I can remember a frantic call from my younger sister when we were taking Dad to Pittsburgh to witness her oldest son being baptized. “Please make sure he’s dressed appropriately.” After we substituted a plain shirt for his flannel one and took off his bow tie, he was fine. I could tell by the gleam in his eye he’d been expecting a “dress down.”

He worked in the coal mines for many years and when he got sick, which wasn’t often, he’d say “I just need to work up a good sweat.” When he developed lymphoma, he fought it like the dickens and was dismayed when his old treatments (sweating and baking soda) didn’t work. I failed to mention that he was also a barber and had a shop here in his home. When he’d come back from chemo or radiation looking like a good puff of wind could send him Heavenward, he’d take off his “good” shirt and go down and cut hair. That was his therapy.

He went to be with his Jesus on his 83rd birthday, September 4th, while all of us hovered around and prayed, however, we knew where he was going! At the last, his eyes flew open and he looked over his head as if seeing those Pearly Gates. Happy Birthday, Daddy. Eat lots of cake! We love you.

Thanks, Sandi, for sharing the beautiful tribute to your dad with us. So many of us now have to look back and remember those good times with our folks and reading your words about your father make me think about mine. How about the rest of you? What’s one sweet memory you have about your dad if he’s passed on or one thing you laugh about together if he’s still here to put his arms around you? Me, I remember Dad loving to play horseshoes. I remember the sound of the horseshoes wrapping around the metal pole as he made ringer after ringer.

Comments 16

  1. Darlene Britzius-Nelson

    My father at age 96 passed away last January. My father being deaf as well as my mother and myself with 3 hearing siblings. We all knew sign language however becoming adults ourselves my siblings knew basic sign language and often uses fingerspelling when they do not know sign for that word. My father was my educator, he got me involved in the deaf community., my siblings weren’t interested.and I was the only one graduated from college was a big thing for him to give me the push I needed.
    Oh how I miss our nightly conversations. He was not a techy person. In every deaf persons’s house hold theres a video phone that we can call one another who owns it. My father dnjury caused him to miveid not want one in his household until hisin with me and my little family. Because of him, my daughter is fluent in sign language. When he started living in our home he became fascinated with my video phone. I set up a big surprise for him…by reconnecting him with another deaf individual that he had grown up with and did not see him for 30+ years. He was thrilled to be able to talk with him and his wife who was 5 states away from us. He then knew why I loved the video phone as it reconnected us without having to travel afar. Oh how I miss my daddy and his hugs.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      I can see why you miss your dad, Darlene. He sounds like quite a man and a wonderful father. And I guess with the video phone he needed to see it and use it to find out what a blessing it could be. I know he must have been very proud of you continuing your education.

      I hope you won’t mind a question, but I’m curious about how your hearing siblings learned to speak orally without your parents teaching them in the normal way. Or could your parents also speak as well as do sign language? Of course, I suppose there were other family members to teach them.

      1. Darlene Britzius-Nelson

        Thats the common question people ask but they realized that my mother and I learned to speak well enough to fool them thinking we are hearing. My dad was profoundly deaf so he could not hear. In a deaf household deaf parents educated their hearing children by radio preset by hearing person same with TV and going to school. Some hearing children have speech problem and often have speech training to help them get past the voice that sounded like a deaf persoon…mainly from deaf parents who are not educated in making sure their kids are exposed to hearing world. I have many friends who are from 3rd or 4th generation of deaf family and my friend had hearing children. She had hard time trying to get help from people to assure that her kids did not fail. They are now in their 20s and have some struggles but cintinued to get better as they are older.
        Being in a deaf family has advantages and disadvantages….one story I like to share was that we were celebrating Thanksgiving at my sister’s house…my sister had some guests over…they were giggling and looking at my dad…I could not figure out what was going on. I have hearing aids and can hear some sounds so I heard them giggling and asked my sister why were they laughing and came to find out that my dad was farting. My sister was horrified and told me to tell dad. Geez why couldn’t she tell dad herself but because I’m more bolder than her so I pulled dad aside and told him. He looked at me funny so I asked him what was wrong. He said…I never knew that farts made sounds. Good thing his farts did not smell up the house he said. We cracked up and laughed as my dad was in his 80s when he discovered this. I asked him why his family never told him. His whole family was hearing and knew fingerspelling except for his mother. She used paper and pencil to communicate with him. He said that his father was the only one who used home signs with him until his father lost his arm on his job in railroad. He fell on icy path and his arm was on the rails when the train hit his arm…so he used fingerspelling after the accident. Anyways….his family never taught him about sounds until I was old enough to communiate with him in my identifying sounds. He never knew until then. Told him about peeing in the bathroom made sounds. He was baffled. LOL

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          Ann H Gabhart

          That’s fascinating information, Darlene, and things I would have never thought about. But I can see where some problems might arise when a person could not hear at all. I used to be around one lady who had hearing problems. Not sure if she was profoundly deaf, but I did realize she didn’t understand how loudly she was breathing. She was a beautiful person and so everyone simply overlooked that.

          I didn’t think about radios or televisions being good for teaching sounds. I had a teacher once whose parents were both deaf. She always spoke very distinctly and with definite lip movements.

          Thank you so much for sharing your stories and helping me get a glimpse at the problems of not being able to hear. I’m always impressed when I see deaf people communicating with their hands.

          1. Darlene

            Glad I was able to reflect on pur deafness. One thing my siblings talked about wasbeung able to swear a lot and parents wouldn’t know it. I told my sister that she had mom slap my face when we were younger when mom thought I swore but my dad pointed out to her that I did not know swear words. And she laughed….geez I get blamed for everything bec I for one was deaf not hear what they say to my mother and being the youngest. Oh well no grudge there. Oh yes lipreading is one of my favorite thing to do when I want to watch people talk I could lipread verily well. Of course not with beard and moustache. LOL
            Speaking of Amish I was shocked to see there was an deaf Amish family that is deaf not sure where from that was shown on TV. I sure would love to know more about them. How would a person find more information about this?
            Thank you for your response I enjoy being able to educate people about deafness. Its my life and world even tho married to hearing guy tgat has ADD that keeps him from retaining sign language but we have a 13 year old that is fluent. Worked at a deaf school as a resudential staff for 30+ years….just got disabled a few years ago due to on the job inury. So have not been able to go out and enjoy the deaf community like I used to. Get tiredvery easy….starting to recoop slowly so hopefully get that back some day soon. Have a great weekend.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Thanks for your comments, Darlene. It was good to learn a little about the deaf community from you. I did a book signing at a Christmas Bazaar at a deaf school once. I was amazed watching the deaf people there talking with their hands. I talked with a few of them about my books but a hearing family member translated for me.

      I hope you continue to feel stronger until you’re able to the do the things you enjoy doing. Your daughter is fortunate to be fluent in two languages.

      Thanks again for answering my questions.

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  3. Nancy Freed McCusker Davis

    Dad was a coal miner and got up at dark to milk the cow before going to work in the mines. I will never forget the day I came home from school and Dad was already home sitting silently in a chair with a tear (unusual) on his cheek. I sat in his lap to comfort him and hear what had happened. He had gone to work that morning and for some reason the “PitBoss” had put Dad in his “Buddy’s” place to work. The “Buddy” was put in Dad’s spot and there was a fall and the “Buddy” was killed. It could have been Dad if not for the intervention. I will never forget having my Daddy given back to me.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Nancy, that is something you could never forget. I’m sure feeling your dad’s arms around you that day was extra special even as your father was sad for the other man who was killed. Thank you for sharing your story about how you did get to have those extra hugs through more years with your dad.

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            Ann H Gabhart

            Oh, I mean one more, Nancy. I didn’t make the connection on the earlier story. Perhaps the Lord knew all you kids needed your dad a few days longer, but then you wonder about the other man. Hard to know the answers in those circumstances. Some answers we never know.

          2. Nancy Freed McCusker Davis

            When I was 18, I was returning home from work at the Bank. The bus left me off on our busy highway and somehow, I missed seeing a car that was hidden behind the bus as it pulled away. I stepped out in front of the car and was hit and thrown up over the hood onto the gravel close to our home in an unconscious state. The next thing I remember was my Dad picking me up in his arms and telling the driver that we must get to the hospital. The owner of the car was telling Dad not to get my blood in his “new” car. Dad was praying, “Oh Lord, if ever we have needed you, we need you now”. I will never forget those comforting words as the man drove us to the hospital. I was a mess and still wear the scars of that accident. I was in the arms of my Daddy and my Father in Heaven.

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