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How My Daddy Died

June 12, 2012

How My Daddy Died

On Thursday, January 19th, 2012 my daddy, Clyde B. Wainwright …”slipped the surely bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”* How did he die? Like a man.

My daddy was born on February 3th, 1930. He was almost 82 years old. He’d been sick, for quite a while, but none of us is really sure how long, because he wouldn’t tell anyone if he was hurting.

My daddy proudly entered the U.S. Army when he turned 18 and served over 20 years including 2 tours to Vietnam. He went on to also serve the great state of Texas through Texas Department of Corrections at the Coffield unit for 10 years. When they offered him a promotion from Lieutenant to Captain, he declined. He was content and didn’t want the added responsibility and necessary move associated with that little bit of pay.

My daddy was truly always and only married to one lady, the love of his life, hard to get; fickle as she was, he just couldn’t quit her: golf. She enraptured him during the years of the depression when as a young boy he went to a course offering to caddy for money. The glint of those clubs winked his way, those dimples in the little white ball, he couldn’t resist. Till the very last dregs of his swing were consumed by arthritis and age, and he could no longer stand steady, did he give up courting her courses. But never in his heart.

My daddy was fiesty. Not mean, or vicious; just fiesty. And he was proud. Proud to be a man. He enjoyed being a man. So it was hard to watch him grow more and more unsteady, feeble, elderly. I didn’t think about it, but I apparently believed that he was going to be prideful, difficult, and fight getting old or sick – maybe even bitter, because I was pleasantly surprised how easy he took his later years. As he needed more and more help to walk or stay steady, he took it, he laughed about it, he made up funny quips about his faultering.

He didn’t want to go to a nursing home, but he didn’t make anyone feel bad about it. He didn’t grow bitter or angry or demanding. He would even try finding cute ways to get the nurses to stay in his room for company at night. He had those ministering spirits God gave him in the nurses who were relatives and their friends. Oh, God’s favor was always on my daddy every where he went. Everyone loved his fun personality, and even if they didn’t always agree with his leadership, they respected it. In the ICU-Hospice ward, they called him, “The General”. I know he loved that. So even as liver failure was setting in, he was still making a sad and grim situation work for him.

He didn’t fuss or cry, and his body lingered on 3 more days after the decision to cease intervention. He bore it and went to be with the Lord. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t pleasant. It wasn’t pitiful either. My daddy taught me a lot about getting old, being sick, and dying.

Like a man.

A man I will always love and admire.

* Ronald Reagan. Speech after the Challenger Disaster. January 28, 1986. Speech by Peggy Noonan.

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