The Legend They Leave Behind - A Marriage of a Lifetime
Til Death Do Us Part - And Beyond
I never realized during my childhood just how blessed I was to have the loving parents that I had. I had 2 brothers and a sister and out of all the years we were growing up (and even after we were grown), I remember hearing my parents argue ONCE. And even then, sitting at the dinner table, when they saw the look on our faces, they cut it off like a water faucet! If they ever resumed the disagreement, they never let any us know it!
Daddy was a very well respected business owner, although he struggled to raise us all. Especially since I was born ill and had a lot of medical bills. He was a very proud man and never expected a hand-out of any kind. If he had to ask for help, he always managed to repay his debt. Mama was his loving support. No matter how hard things got, she never complained or made him feel as if he was providing us with anything less than silver and gold.
Although we realized that other kids had more than we did, I don't remember ever feeling deprived in any way. We were all taught to work for what we wanted and we did. I remember mowing lawns to make some weekend spending money but usually ran a little short when it came time to go out. No matter how tight the money was, Daddy always dug deep in his pocket and found just enough for us to go to the movies or skating. I often imagined that his pockets must have reached all the way to his ankles!
When the years passed by and he became disabled, I remember how he felt so worthless because he was no longer able to work and it was now up to the children to help them get by until all of the red tape of starting his disability was weeded through. To us, it was an honor to be able to repay some of the debt we could never live long enough to repay entirely. Mama became his caretaker and never waivered in her duties, never complained about the life she was giving up to be there for him. They were together for better or worse, in sickness and in health. On December 12th 1998, our world would forever change. Daddy passed away that morning but even in death, his love for Mama would shine through.
We used to laugh because he would tell us about how all of the men would bad mouth their wives when they were together and when he wouldn't join in on their attacks, they would pick at him because he was so skinny and Mama was overweight. Instead of agreeing with them and criticizing her, he would just laugh and say "Well, one thing is for sure. I don't have to shake the sheets to find her!" The remarks never embarrassed him nor made him any less proud of her. If there was anything on earth that topped the list of the accomplishments he was proud of, it was his marriage to Mama. And he would prove that even in death.
After his death on December 12th, we buried him on December 14th and December 15th would have been there 47th wedding anniversary. He had undergone surgery in November and was not sure he would make it to their anniversary. He made arrangements with my sister before he went into surgery to prepare for that date he was so proud to celebrate. Daddy had never given Mama roses before and the day after his funeral, she received a dozen red roses from him. Although it caused tears, they were tears of pride and joy because Mama knew that in his final days, he was showing how proud he was to have had her for all those years.
My sister, on the other hand, didn't know if she had done the right thing under the circumstances because she was worried about upsetting Mama. She soon realized that she had done the right thing because she had carried out Daddy's wishes and Mama nor any of the rest of us would have wanted anything less. I have always admired her for honoring those wishes for him.
It is strange how you take so many of the small things for granted as a child and sometimes even harbor some resentment over petty stuff. That is, until you no longer have it and have to look back in memory and see all of the blessings that were laid out before you. It was only after I was grown that I began to realize the impact of all those family camping trips, domino and card games, fishing and hunting trips that almost seemed more trivial then than important. Those things, along with the lasting impression of loving parents would be the foundation for our future generations to come.
Daddy didn't just leave us with a good example of a happy marriage. He and Mama have given us a legacy that will live for many years to come in the traits that we will pass on to our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren simply because these two people chose to show love and commitment in every situation of their marriage. Mama is still with us and still as loving as ever. Although I know she misses Daddy more each day, she knows that when God calls her home, they will be together through eternity. And I have no doubt that as hard as that day will be here on earth, there will be one more glorious reunion in Heaven!