An American Soldier and Father

It was February 23, 1992 that my father passed away. I remember I was living in New Mexico at the time and had just returned from a trip from visiting him. He had been ill with a heart condition but was better it seemed and so I returned home. Then on the night of the 23rd one of my sisters called to tell me that my father was dead. That after I left he took a turn for the worse and they should all convene to the hospital because he wasn’t going to make it through the night.

I made arrangements to leave the next day,but that night that he died was the saddest night of my life and it was spent going through passages from the bible with my then husband. He tried to comfort me as much as possible, he read psalms to me and told me that my father was in a better place.

My mom and dad on their wedding day.
My mom and dad on their wedding day.

Even though I knew that he meant well the words just seemed so hollow to me because even though he may be in a better place, he was not here with us now, until the day that I die, I would never see my father on this earth again, and I was in pain.

I went back home to Texas and we had a funeral for my dad. Being that my father was from the "greatest generation" he was a veteran of World War II in which he received a purple heart for his injuries and was a prisoner of war in Germany, so he was buried in a veteran’s cemetary there and was submitted to the ground to rest on a gloomy, windy day in Texas. My brother sang “Amazing Grace”, and had everyone in tears.

So here it is close to the day of the anniversary again and the thoughts come to me expeditiously and without warning.

I miss him as much as I ever did. I miss our conversations and his wit.

My father was a manic depressive and his later years were spent in such a depressed state that he could hardly get out of his bed and didn’t even have the motivation to go out for a walk. I wish that I could have been more help to him then but there you have it, you cannot change the past.

I have been out to the cemetery where he lies a few times and I shall go this year as well but it is something that I am compelled to do since living in my hometown now. Just to say hello, just to say I miss and love him.

There are so many things that I wish I could’ve told him before he died but I guess everyone says that. I believe a person needs to tell the people they love everything there is to say so that if they were to suddenly die, there will be nothing left unsaid.

I have heard that when people die they come to you in dreams and let you know that they are alright. I don’t know if this is true but I do know that I dream of my father a lot and when I do he is always laughing and smiling and having fun. I tell myself that he is letting me know in his own way that he is alright.

© 2010 ladyjane1

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Comments 26 comments

Whidbeywriter profile image

Whidbeywriter 6 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

The same thing happened to me, when I came back to Oak Harbor I got the call he had died, but at least we did get to see him before that to say I Love you Dad!!


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

yea thats true I am greatful for that. Thanks.


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

So sorry for your loss, ladyjane...I can't imagine what you went through! But it's so good of you to share your precious memories of him with others!


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ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Hey Ann I appreciate your kind words and I do have precious memories of him.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

I feel you pain and anguish, ladyjane. I lost my Dad when I was eighteen years old. He lost his battle with heart disease and I lost a man that I adored with all my heart and soul. You are lucky if your father comes to you in your dreams. When that happens to me I feel blessed.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you brtakfastpop I appreciate your nice comments and I do feel good when I see my dad in a dream I go away with feeling like we have had a visit. Thanks for visiting.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England

I lost my dad when I was 17. He wasn't ill, he died suddenly-never had the chance to say goodbye. dream of him often. I feel your pain, God bless


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

jayjay40 thank you for sharing about your dad. It must have been hard to lose your dad at 17. I was 29 so there is a big difference there. I am sorry about that. I thank you for reading and commenting on my hub. Blessings.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, ladyjane. Sorry to hear about your dad. I lost my dad first then my mum a year later. I still dream about them. Usually in a normal dreamlike way, but sometimes I dream it differently, as though they are really there. I know the pain, and even though it is ten years now, I still think of them all the time. thanks nell


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Nell thanks for visiting yes I suppose we will never stop thinking or dreaming of them will we? And thats a could thing. Have a nice day.


A.M. Gwynn 6 years ago

I pray we never stop dreaming. I pray they never stop coming to us. I don't think they will. Maybe it's a mtter of us listening for the little things... maybe, it is a matter too of being able to accept what we have instead of expecting what we want.

I want so much!! But I will take the smallest particle, if it gives me the message that my boy is with Love and Peace.

What else do I have left of him, if not for those little things? And the memories... oh, the good and the bad too.

Thank you for sharing this personal part of yourself, and for giving a little bit of your father to others.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

A.M. Gwyn it seems fitting that you should reply to this hub on this night the anniversary of my fathers death with your words of wisdom and comfort. It's almost 3 a.m and the wind is blowing outside exactly like that solemn day, I guess my father is talking to me. Thanks for visiting once again. Blessings.


Nettye 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing your memories of you dad. I lost my dad when I was 5. I have very few memories of him but the ones I do have I cherish with all my heart. He was a Vet as well.


uliveulearn profile image

uliveulearn 6 years ago from Canada

I too feel your pain ladyjane1. I lost my mom the same year (1992) and at the same age (29) as you when your lost your dad. I remember aching for a glimpse of her somehow passing by in the night and in my dreams. My father passed away suddenly in 2001. The years have gone by so quickly but the pain is ever present. I miss our conversations as you do. Isn't it such simple things that we cherish so much in relationships......a smile, holding hands, conversation.....just being in the moment together.


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ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Nettye thanks so much for reading this hub about my dad, Im sorry that you lost your dad so young I cannot imagine that but stay strong and do not let go of those memories. Blessings.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

uliveulearn thank you for commenting about my hub. It must be very hard to lose both paretns. My mother is 75 and in pretty good health and I cherish every moment that we still have. And you are right it is the little things. After my dad died I went into his bedroom and I could smell him, he had a great fatherly smell and I miss it. I guess that is why people do not want to get rid of clothes of their loved ones when they pass away. Thanks for sharing and blessings to you.


MFB III profile image

MFB III 6 years ago from United States

My Mom died alone in a closet sized room on a floor covered with dirty clothes, because she refused to leave my poverty stricken youngest sister who had managed to birth 12 kids. I was not there when she died, but I was there to sign the order to disconnect her fromm the life support machines, that simply kept a brain dead corpse warm. Thus this poem was born:

Cremating Momma.

She lay snug within a brown, paperboard sarcophagus.

My precious Mom on her back, as if she were just napping for awhile.

An icicle of mucus hung, suspended from her nose,

just some drops of her life fluids trapped before they could evaporate,

locked inside a freezer, as her last movement seeped, and froze.

I longed to wipe it off, remembering how she had with tenderness

so often wiped my nose when I was small, to stop its running.

But here, her nose was stopped forever, stilled by one large stroke,

and now facing her frozen countenance, I could not do this simple task

as silently I wept...awaiting much worse yet to come.

~

On a raised platform, eye level, I stood by her until the end,

then I bent and kissed her precious hand, mumbling sad Godspeeds.

The coldness of it numbed me, and I knew then that she was truly gone.

"Oh, God!" I longed to talk to her one more time, just a few simple words of love and goodbyes denied but then the sound of furnaces igniting, shocked my soul and gave me pause, as she was slowly rolled away into that blazing maw.

Her box thumped once hard, mom was jostled, then smoothly it moved on, conveying all that I held dear, now lost to me, in vast degrees, vanishing quickly within minutes, was this life of worth consumed.

~

I turned from that most withering heat, and sadly left the room,

wishing for one minute more, that I might hold my mother close.

Strangely enough my wish was granted, when papers duly signed,

confirmed that she had been disposed, according to state laws.

The sheer cost of her death, uninsured, had left me little choice.

They handed me a squat black box, containing her cremains,

so little left, hard to believe...but on it was Mom's name.

I got to hold her one more time, so tight against my chest

As she once cradled me, so I cradled her within my arms,

and I could feel a warmth that permeated from within.

~

I closed my eyes, and thought of her sweet smile,

of her soft voice,and shed another tear for all that was,

and could have been.

At peace I turned to go, out to a bright and sunny day,

of a California world, and then back home so far away,

with a box of memories, turned to ash, that I treasured like gold.

We flew across the skies from heated climes, to winter's cold,

reversing what she'd been through, from death's chill, into the flames.

and now back a wintry grave.

~

November snows now blanket what remains...no longer warm,

and I have faced the fires, and ice, of life's most troubling storm.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

A very sad Poem MFB III brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for reading you are always welcome with your poems, they comfort me :)


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Ladyjane, your story was touching. I'm a Vet of Nam and I deal with depression a bit. I may be overwhelmed more with frustration.

The message that MFB left floored me. The memories of my Mother came back and my inability to help her hit me in the gut.

Thanks for hubbing.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Hello Micky Dee thanks for reading. I appreciate that you are a vet I hold our military in high regard,and I thank you for giving us our freedom. I think that my dad came back from the war depressed but in those days men were too stuborn to ask for help and if there was help my dad would never have gone for it knowing him. That was just his way. I appreciate you visiting. Thanks again.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Ladyjane, as Micky Dee I am of the same era, depressed I find to be an inadequate description of what they called "shellshock" back in those times and have since came up with PTSD, or post traumatic stress syndrome. None the less, I don't care what they call it, it's just a ball and chain we drag around everyday of our lives. I have some how learned to live with it and take medicines for it everyday. Some days it helps other days it is worthless. In my struggles to live with it I found that I could never complete a relation ship with a wife, I totally failed at that because they could not understand me. One told me as she walked out the door "get over it". So simple the words while the feat of performing it is just not possible. I kept company with an old man when I was 16 and he from world war II had dreams that kept him screaming in the nights waking up in cold sweats. I spent a few nights in his old trailer with a refrigerator filled with Falstaff beer, he woke up every day and started drinking. I brought him marijuana to smoke in hopes of helping him out and he gladly smoked it up. In January on my 17th birthday I received draft papers to report to AFEES Phoenix Arizona, I ran down to the recruiters office and enlisted in the Marine Corps. I had 12 months before the Army could finish their induction process as they could not take possession of me until my 18th birthday. My Father and I had a short argument over me insisting on the Marine Corps because it was a family tradition. My enlistment would require 4 years where the draft only 2, I stayed 8 and the war ended and shining shoes and pressing my underwear with starch for inspections was not a thing a warrior can do after leaving the most exciting life style there is, so I took my discharge. In the end Pops signed the release for the Marine Corps. I stepped off the plane in Nam as a 17 year old Marine and found out I was in hell. After 13 months I was returned to the states wearing 3 stripes up, a Sargent. I was sent to technical flight school for Huey single rotor and dual rotor helicopters and achieved the 2nd seat pilots license and Gunnery Sargent the rank required to obtain the Silver Wings extended to enlisted personnel to become pilots as it was reserved for mainly Officers. I took over seas orders as fast as I could get them and would fly flights know as dust offs that no sane pilot wanted. I flew every one I could get. It was all I knew how to do and do well. Today I want my war back as well as my rifle, but they say I'm too old. It will haunt me until they burn or bury me. I respect your Dad, as my father was a Marine in the South Pacific doing the Island hopping, battle to battle, he had much on his mind and would speak nothing about it.

I had moved into my Fathers house to help with him during his Hospice. I put his clothes on and his shoes, got him ready for a day of entertaining the folks who flocked to see him and talk to him. He couldn't eat or drink as cancer had taken his stomach and guts so nothing would stay, he ate and it came right back out. He never let on how bad he was feeling. The day came as we sat at the breakfast table where he told me "tonight I'm going to bed and I won't be getting back up". At 11:30 I'm not sure if I was awake but I think I was, a vision of him, I thought was him trying to cross the hall with his walker walked into the living room where I slept and it was him he appeared to be in his mid 30's all dressed for work in his khaki work shirt and his Levis and work boots and he said "Son I have to go now" and he walked away and faded out. I got up and went to his bed and hewas still warm but he was gone, so I removed the tubing and all the junk they had hooked to him then let the bed down so his jaw wouldn't hang open and combed his hair so those coming could see him in a decent way. I've typed too much.

Jane, the loss seams great but with proper faith we can all meet again, so I'll pray for us and hope we make it to the other side where we all are happy. I'm tired and have run my race and am ready to go to the resting in wait of the resurrection where we all can be pain free and happy to spend all the time we care to with every generation gone and yet to come. God Bless You!


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

50 Caliber wow I can't tell you what it means to me to have you share so much of your life and feeings. And yes I know my father was shellshocked, when we were litte he used to sit in the closet with something over his head during a thunderstorm I thought my father was strange but later on when I grew more I realized what was going on. My father was depressed as hell and after he retired from a civil service job that he recieved after the war he just gave up and really didn't want to live anymore. But I do appreciate the time that we had together and I will never forget him and I cant wait to see him again somewhere sometime. Hope to see you there as well and I appreciate you taking the time to really write what was in your heart. Thanks.


Rosemary 6 years ago

My dad so much he didn't have anymore to give. He was POW in WWII he went through so much i some times think how hard those 8 months in those camps must have been for him not knowing if he was going to live or die. He has seen so much blood and hurt i am sure the experience would have changed me as well. I remember Mom telling me how after the war he would hit the floor every time he heard a plane over head.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Hello Rosemary yea those must have been harder times for him than we will ever know.


stars439 profile image

stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Dear ladyjane : This was a beautiful hub, and you're love for you're dad is wonderful. My dad was a career military person, and he died quickly with heart failure, and to be honest I am glad he died fast because I hate to see people I love suffer like my mother did with a dozen ailments that took her life slowly.

Well so much for this cheery talk. I am glad you have had dreams of you're dad. I dreamed of my dad being happy, and having a great time with fellow soldiers as they drank fine wine, and seemed young.

You write nicely, and quite beautifully. The picture of you're mom, and dad is lovely. GBY dear heart.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 4 years ago from Texas Author

thank you stars439 I love when I get comments from you because they always come straight from your heart and I can feel it. I appreciate your nice comments. Thanks and cheers to you and our fathers.

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