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June 11, 1984, you died. I was the only person in the hospital room with you. I held your hand while you took your last breath. I watched you slip out into eternity and end your suffering. I still have so many thoughts, feelings, and emotions to this day. What did I see and what did I learn? This was so hard, but there is no other place I wanted to be because I love you Dad!

I think anyone who has lost a parent can understand what I just said. You will know. You feel pain and emotions that come from losing a parent. It stays with you the rest of your life. There is a void and emptiness that cannot be filled. You have good and bad memories. You try and concentrate on the good ones.

This story is not special or different from anyone else’. It is special and unique to me because I lived it. I ask myself, “What did I learn? How did this influence my life?” This is not just about the death of my Dad. It is about everything that led up to his death and my life. I have to go back to the beginning and explain.

How And Why Was I Born

My dad was a big man, 6’6″ tall. His name was Clarence. He had five brothers. Dad lived a rough life and grew up working hard. Work was all he knew. He never played as a kid or had any games. Work was their play. His Mom and Dad (my grandparents) lived through the great depression and barely survived.

My Dad and his family lived in a town called Bristol. I grew up and lived there myself. This is where Dad met my Mom and married her. My dad worked in a large bakery all his life. He spent over 30 years working there.

While Dad worked at Purity Bakery, he became best friends with a preacher. His name was Sherffey and they worked together. My Dad became a Christian and really wanted to serve God. My Mom raised hell because Dad went into the water to be baptized in his new suit. Sherffey bought Dad his first Bible, with his name engraved on it.

My Dad’s life went well. He loved going to church. He grew spiritually. Before he died, he told me what he felt was the biggest mistake of his life. Dad said, ” I really believed God called me to preach, but I would not.’ He told me, “I missed God’s Will for my life, and I had never been happy.”

My oldest brother Bill was born. Allen was born 11 months later. Bill is five years older and Allen four years older than me. Mom and Dad wanted one more child. 14 months later Donnie was born.  There was a problem with Donnie’s umbilical cord.

Doctors were not as knowledgeable with babies as they are today. Donnie’s navel was open. They kept a quarter taped over his navel hoping it would heal up. They did not want the navel to burst out or rupture.

Here is the story within this story. You may ask how I know this, so I will tell you. When I was grown and married both sets of grandparents talked to me. My aunts and uncles told me the same thing and confirmed this. Before my Dad died, he talked to me and admitted it was true.

My grandparent said, “Ray, you are a good man and we love you so much. I want to tell you something that will hurt you. I tell you this for one reason. Maybe you will be able to understand your Mom. Maybe you will understand why she still continues to treat you bad. It is not right and has never been fair to you. I just want you to know why she is this way.” Here is the story.

Dad worked at the bakery and worked long hours. 12 to 14 hours sometimes. On this night he came home after working 14 hours. He wanted to lie down and sleep for a few hours. He had to be back to work in 4 hours. He got in bed and Donnie started crying. Donnie was six months old. He nudged mom and asked her to go quiet Donnie so he could sleep. She did not move or get up. He asked her again, but she went back to sleep.

Donnie was in his bassinet on the other side of the wall and crying. Dad was tired. He took his fist and beat the wall. He screamed, “Damn  it Donnie, can’t you shut up for a few hours?” Donnie hushed and Dad went to sleep. Dad got up in a few hours, dressed and went back to work.

Four hours later, Dad got a phone call at work. “Come home Donnie is dead!” His navel had ruptured and he bled to death in his bassinet. My aunts and uncles arrived. It took 2 hours to clean Donnie body.

They scrubbed and scrubbed to get the blood and dried bowel movement off Donnie. They said Donnie’s diaper had matted to him. They told me, it looked like Donnie’s diaper had not been changed in a few days.”

Mom could not touch Donnie, she fell apart. My Dad carried Donnie’s little body in his arms to the car. Dad drove Donnie and delivered him to the funeral home. Dad made funeral arrangements then came back home. Mom forced him to look for a place to move right then. She refused to spend one more night in that house.

With Donnie at the funeral home, my Dad had to find a place and move that very day. Dad did it with the help of all my aunts and uncles. Donnie was buried two days later and Mom totally fell apart again.                                                               img003 for daddy (Medium)

Donnie was a beautiful baby. He had long curly hair. He looked like a little angel in this black and white photo. This is Donnie laying in a small casket.

Mom swore to one and all, she would never get pregnant again. She would never have another child. She said, “No more, no more children. Two kids are enough. I will never go through this again.” This is where their relationship started to crumble. Mom and Dad blamed each other for Donnie’s death. This is when Dad started drinking.

Two years later an accident happen. ME. Mom was pregnant and carrying me. She did not want me or any other child. I believe if abortion had been legal, I would have never been here. Mom kept telling everyone, “No one will ever replace Donnie! I don’t want another baby.” So, I am the one that was not wanted.

My grandparents, aunts, and uncles told me, Mom was forced to accept me, but I was not wanted. Dad still continued the bad relationship with Mom. As I grew things got worse and Dad drank more. When I was seven-years-old, Mom and Dad divorced. Mom got custody of us three kids, plus child support and alimony. Dad paid it every month without fail, even when he had to sleep in his car with no place of his own.

Mom got a job and worked. I and my two older brothers almost starved. It was not unusual for us to get one cup of oatmeal and split it three ways. We would eat it, then not eat again for a week or ten days. Maybe we would get a sandwich, and not eat again for a week.  We went to school hungry and came home hungry.

If we told anyone, (especially our Dad) we were beaten severely by Mom. She used thick belts and tree limbs (not switches).These were her favorites. We were beaten from head to toe. People go a few hours without eating and say, “I am starving.” NO. I know what real hunger is.

Mom hooked up with an old high school boyfriend named Howard. She sold our house Dad had provided. She moved us 20 miles away to another city. I had been pushed from one grandparent to the other. My brothers had stayed with our uncles. They were good to us and we got to eat every day.

It never lasted, Mom had custody and would come and get us. “Back to Starvation and Beating City.”

Mom married Howard and it never worked for us kids. He was in his 40’s. Howard had never been married or had any kids. All he knew was to threaten and beat us kids. My brothers were older and rejected his authority. They were big enough to fight back.

This is the point when my brothers got to go LIVE with my uncles. Now I am alone. I became his whipping boy. I became the one he could vent his anger and frustrations on. I will not go into all the details, but the beatings were severe.

I have to be fair. These beatings took place while Mom was at work. She never wanted to believe her husband could do this. For my own safety, I hid it well.

I wanted to get along with Howard. If I could, maybe the beatings would stop. I made a gesture and tried to hug him. He threw me across the room. I ran outside and he followed. He grabbed a glass coke bottle and cracked the top off on a table. He chased me with it. I ran fast. He told me, “If you ever touch me or try to hug me again, I will slit your throat and kill you. You little queer.” I BELIEVED HIM.

The next morning they went to work. I hid behind the house when the school bus ran. I did not get on the bus. At the age 12, that very day, I walked 20 miles in a pouring rain to Bristol. It took all day but I made it. I finally got ride part of the way by hitchhiking. I found the bakery where my dad worked and he was there. This drowned little rat hugged him tight and begged him, Please let me live you.

Dad was remarried to a woman with three kids of her own. I had to go beg his new wife. They said, “We don’t have room, our house is small.” I said, “I don’t need a room, I’ll sleep on the floor or outside.” After three days of begging, they finally said yes.

Dad took to Mom’s to get my things. We took the police with us. They had seen all the cuts, bruises and other injuries on me. Mom lied and said I had fallen down the mountainside while picking berries. Mom agreed to give Dad custody of me.

I Jumped From The Frying Pan Into The Fire

Had I just made an enormous mistake? Now I was with my Dad, stepmother, and three stepbrothers. Two of the three stepbrothers did not want me there. They determined to run me off and send me back to my mother. Those two did not care where I went, really, just as long as I was gone. If I died, that would be good. They spent the next nine years making my life a living hell.

Dad’s brother Frank was totally different than all the rest. He and his wife Eva were great parents and real Christians. I loved them very much. Frank and Eva had two great kids of their own. They all wanted to adopt me. How different my life would have been if that had happened. It was the pride and ego of my Dad and Mom that made them say, “NO!”!

My Dad had changed. He was now a full-blown alcoholic. He drank all the time, but still worked hard. The older stepbrother was actually decent, he left and went into the Army. That left the other two stepborthers, to make my life miserable. Anything to get me in trouble. Break things so they could blame me. They loved seeing me punished or getting chocked.

No matter what it was or what was done, I was always at fault. Even if I had not been home. I was always the one whipped, punished or brutalized. The two stepbrothers hated my dad. He was just a drunk to them. They took out on me, what they could not take out on my dad. Then Dad would take it out on me too.

This is how it went. Dad would go out drinking. He’d come home drunk after spending money we didn’t have. That required penance with my stepmother. The idea of saying anything about her children and their behavior was strictly forbidden. So…he beat the crap out of me to appease her.

People have said, “There are two kinds of drunks-the happy drunk and the mean drunk.” My Dad was never a happy drunk, he was the mean one. Countless times Dad came home drunk. He would grab me in a headlock, around the throat. I would pass out. My stepmother would hit him in the head with a cast iron skillet before he chocked me to death. He was too sloppy drunk to know better.

When Dad came home I could look out the window and know if he was drunk or sober. If drunk I would run to a neighbor’s and hide, at least until stepmother came home. If he was drunk I had to run. If I were alone with him, there would be no one to make him let go of me. He would stumble and prowl the neighborhood calling my name. The neighbors lied and told him they had not seen me.

So many times, he passed out in the yard before he could get in the house, lying in the pouring down rain, calling my name. Dad was known as the neighborhood drunk. What was the most painful part of all, for me? It was not the abuse, beatings, punishment being whipped and cussed. It was seeing my dad sit and watch while I was abused by others, and allowing it. Knowing I had done nothing wrong. Then he would punish me to appease them.

I really missed my brother Bill. When we were together, he always tried to protect me. Bill was my hero. He had enlisted and joined the Air Force.

My brother, Allen, followed in Dad’s footsteps. He became an alcoholic. Then there were two alcoholics to deal with. Allen began to stagger the street in Bristol. He was known as the biggest thief and crook in Bristol. I never understood how Allen could starve his own wife and kids. He had been starved as a kid himself. His own wife and kids could not deal with him.

At age 16, I worked after school. I walked to work. I walked home. The weather didn’t matter. If I got off work and saw my stepmother outside, I was not going home. Too often that meant I had to go with her to the bootleggers and get my dad to come home. It could be hours of struggling and fighting with him to get him in the truck. With luck and struggle, we’d get him home, and get him to bed around 3 am. I still had homework to do. Maybe I could get a shower, then go back to school.

This was the normal way of life for many years. I had to accept it, I could not change it.

My Dad was a big strong, tough man. He believed men were not sissies. Men do not cry or show sissie emotions. At this point in time,  I only saw my dad cry two times. The first time was when his Mother died. The second time, he was sloppy drunk. Dad talked about the night Donnie died. How he had beat the wall and cursed at Donnie. Dad never got over that.

At my age of 17, Dad opened his own bootlegging joint. Now he was the head drunk and liquor was illegal in the state. Dad would sell it to one and all. I was forced to drive his drunk friends across state lines to buy liquor. I was forced to do it or get beat. I hated every moment.

Being beaten, punished and penalized never stopped. The abuse by stepbrothers never stopped. I simply adapted to it and accepted it. I could not change it. When I turned age 18, I secretly went and volunteered for the military draft. There was a war going on in Vietnam. Going to Vietnam could not be any worse than living at home. Six days after graduating high school I was taken into the Army.

When my military service was finished I came home. The only job I could find was working at the bakery where my Dad worked. Now I had to prove myself. Even though my Dad was a mean alcoholic, he was still a hard worker. I was expected to be the same way. I had married my high school girlfriend and had my own apartment. That was one of the happiest moments of life. I was away from Dad and stepbrothers.

A real miracle happened. God got hold of my life and changed me. I was born again and became God’s child. I became a Christian. God became real in my life. I found a love I never knew existed. I loved people, the church I attended and God’s Word. I  could not get enough of the Bible.

My Dad and Allen ruined the family name in Bristol. Both of them were hated, and so was the family name. I was guilty by association and also looked too much like my Dad. I would go into a store and be run out because of my last name. I was cursed and labeled as trash because of my last name. No one wanted to hear, “I am not like them, I am different.” (My brother, Bill, had been smart and had moved two states away to South Carolina, five years before.)

A job with the bakery thrift store came open in another city. I applied for the job and a transfer. At last, I had a good job. I moved out of Bristol and had a good job. I moved out of Bristol to a city far away from where no one knew the family name. I did have to change churches, but it was worth it.

An unbelievable opportunity came open. I was offered the chance to attend Bible college. Here was a dream come true. I wanted to go to Bible College to learn more about God, so I could help others. It was arranged, and the door opened for me. Everyone said, “Do not go. Do leave your job. You will regret it. You are making a big mistake. When you fail, you cannot come back to work here.”

I felt God was in it. There was even a way for my education to be paid for. I had to wait for the new semester to start and it finally did.

The bakery had been Teamsters Union and they went on strike. They were on strike for one whole month. When the strike was settled, they all went back to work.

The strike crippled the bakery though. The owners sold it to a new company. This new company was not union and let every employee go. This new company did not want any union or union employees. Everyone was out of a job, including my Dad.

A New Start For Me And Dad

The very day Purity Bakery closed, was my first day in Graham Bible College. Do you really think that was a coincidence? No, that was God. No one was telling me now, You are making a big mistake and will regret it. God knew the future. They did not. I would find out later before my Dad died, what happened on that day when the bakery closed.

My Dad told me. He finished his last shift and went home. No one was home, just him. He went to his room to put away his keys and wallet. He looked across the bed into the big mirror on the dresser. For the first time in many years, he knelt on his knees, looked in the mirror, and started to pray.

“God, I don’t like what I see in the mirror and I know you don’t. I want to thank you for getting me out of the hell hole I worked in for 34 years. I am a drunk and a mean man. I don’t know how I got here, but I did it. I have cussed you and cursed your name. I have done about everything wrong in the book and fought against you.”

” I am no kind of man. I am worthless to everyone. I messed up my own life and my family. I don’t know why you have not killed me. I deserve it. I want to quit drinking, but I don’t know how. I need your help, if I am worth helping. I can’t do it without you. I am asking you to please help me and forgive me”

” I remember years ago when I became your child. You were real in my life and I wanted to serve you. I missed your calling in my life and I have been miserable ever since. I had joy and happiness. I want to ask you, God, Please give me back the joy of my salvation and forgive me. I don’t care what it takes, please give that back to me.”

My Dad drew his unemployment. Before it ran out he found a job. My brother, Bill, in South Carolina, owned a construction company. My Dad went to work for my brother Bill and got to travel. For the first time in their lives, they really got to know each other. Many lifelong problems were cleared up between them.

Dads wife insisted he come home to work. He was making good money and having fun for once. Even so, Dad came home to please her. He found a job at the local hospital. He became a security guard. He loved the work, his new friends, and shorter shifts. He seemed happy and was not drinking.

Dealing With Life And Cancer

Dad worked at the hospital for a long time, then got sick. He had medical tests run. The doctors told him he had “Oat Cell Carcinoma.” This is one of the fastest growing cancers. The doctors told Dad, he would have to have radiation treatments and chemotherapy. He was also told it was not curable but terminal.” The doctors said, “If you do not have radiation therapy and chemo, the pain will be unbearable.”

I felt at that moment, Dad would head straight back to the bottle. I really believed he would start drinking again. Dad had been sober since the day the bakery closed. Dad went in a new direction that I never expected. No one did. Dad acted like he was going to die any minute.

Dad got on the phone and started calling anyone who owed him a penny. He wanted it and demanded it. If someone had borrowed a screwdriver he wanted it back now. He wanted everything that belonged to him right there before he died. He harassed people until they paid him, or brought it back.

Dad got everything around him in a circle. He had all that belonged to him. But it brought him no peace or satisfaction. I saw his frustration and anger. I watch him go from a big strong man to walking on a cane. Then, he moved to a walker, later to a wheelchair, and finally to a hospital bed.

All the radiation treatments and Chemo-therapy eat him up, inside and outside. I saw him so deathly sick in many ways. Then I saw a bigger change in my Dad. He was broken. Then he turned to God again. He got on the phone and called everyone he knew. He begged them to come and see him. If they would not, he was apologizing to them, for being a drunk and alcoholic. He would ask if he owed them anything, and said he would pay no matter what it took.

He located old friends, drunks and drinking buddies and apologized to them too. He was witnessing to them and telling them how he quit drinking. Telling how God could deliver them from alcohol. He was telling them how God could be real in their life. Dad begged them to come and see him so they could talk. Dad begged their forgiveness.

I sat in the den talking with Dad. He told me he was ready to leave this world. He did not want to leave this world with anything bad in his heart. He said, “Son If I knew God would take me, as soon as I got in that chair, I would crawl over there right now.” He told me when you lose your health, you”ve lost it all. All the things he owned meant nothing.

My brother Bill came in from South Carolina almost every weekend after work. Even when Dad was in the hospital, Bill was there. They had a good relationship and had a lot of time to make up with each other. This gave Dad a lot of satisfaction.

Dad begged to go to church but was not physically able. He listened to every preacher on the radio that he could. He finally had to be put in the hospital for good. I was close to graduating from Graham Bible College. I was with Dad in the hospital when he had an unexpected guest come to visit.

Dad’s old, old, friend Pastor Sherffey showed up. He had been in Florida preaching for many years. He had just come back home to Bristol to be a pastor in a new church. He had heard about Dad and came to visit. I just sat and listened. I did not interrupt. Sherffey said, “Clarence, I am sorry you have cancer.” Dad said, “Why not me? I am not special. I am not better than anyone else.”

Sherffey said, “Clarence, I want to lay hands on you, and pray that God will heal you from this cancer.” Dad said, “No, Sherffey. You pray that I will not go empty-handed. Pray that I will have some kind of reward to lay at the Masters’ feet.” Dad started to cry, he said, “Please listen to me. I turned my back on God and lived a wicked life.”

“The day the bakery shut down I asked God to help me quit drinking. I asked God to give me back the joy of my salvation, no matter what it took. This is what it took. Sherffey, this is why I have cancer. I am ready to go home and I am looking forward to it.” Sherffey asked, “Is there a Bible in this room?”

Dad reached in his pillowcase and handed Sherffey a little Bible. It was the same Bible Sherffey had bought my dad many years ago, and still engraved with Dad’s name. Dad said, “Do you recognize this Sherffey? I sleep with it under my pillow, it helps me to rest a little.” Sherffey could only smile. Sherffey read some scripture then had prayer.

Dad introduced me and told Sherffey, “This is my youngest son. He will be graduating Bible college in a few days.” We talked for a while and Sherffey said he had to go. When Sherffey left, my dad said, “Son, I need to talk you. You are the last one.” I did not quite understand, but I said,  “ok.”

When The End Came

Dad said to me, “This is long overdue. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I was mean and cruel to you most of your life. I cannot go back and make it right. I would if I could, but I can’t. You know what I am talking about. I have asked God many times to forgive me for what all I did to you. You did not deserve it. Please, forgive me, Son, I love you.

Nothing else in the world mattered at that moment. I had never heard those words in my life from my Dad. “I love you.” I never expected to hear it. Those words meant everything to me. I said, “Dad, there is nothing to forgive, I forgave a long time ago.”

Dad begged and begged the doctors to let him go to my graduation. They said “No”. Dad told them, “My son is graduating Bible college, I need be there. Put me on a gurney and let me go in an ambulance, I want to go.”

They told me, “He can’t. He would not make it, he would not live.”

The next day I went to the hospital before going to graduation. I told Dad I would be back in a while. I went to graduation then came back to the hospital. I showed Dad my Bachelors Degree, Associates Degre, and Teaching Certificates.

He looked at them and said, “They look nice, but I don’t understand what they mean.”

I don’t know why, but I said, “You can have them.” He grinned a little and said, “What would I do with them?” They are yours, you earned them. Then for the first time in my life, Dad said, “I am proud of you Son!”

That totally melted my heart. I never expected to hear those words.

God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways

I stayed a while, visited, then went home. I had said, “I will be back in the morning. I went back to the hospital the next morning to stay with Dad. Before I could get to his room the nurses came to me. They said, “Your Dad slipped into a coma last night. We are just trying to keep him comfortable.” Of course I stayed. I could not leave.

I had been given a few dollars by my uncle as a graduation present. That gave me gas money to get back and forth to the hospital. I was there every day, 14 to 16 hours. A few friends and family came to visit. They sat in the lobby. They could not handle being in Dad’s room more than a few minutes. It was a horrific experience.

I understand how long hard hours in a hospital seem to go slow. Those hours can really work on your mind. Dad was in a coma and suffering. They brought his meal tray 3 times a day. My uncles were saying, “Eat that food Ray, don’t let it go to waste. You don’t have money to buy meals. Your Dad can’t eat it. He would not want you to go hungry.”

I ate it and somehow choked it down. I had to take it to the bathroom to eat. I could not eat in front of my Dad even though he was in a coma. Knowing he had not eaten a bite or drank a drop in many days, brought a great measure of guilt-eating a dying mans food. You eat it with tears in your eyes.

One day turned into the another, then the next. All you can do is sit and wait. I would have done anything humanly possible for my dad. If only there was some way to help. There was nothing I could do. The nurses gave Dad, the highest doses of morphine they could. Every two hours. It did not help much. Dads thighs look like a pin cushion.

Dad would stop breathing, and I would ask myself, “Is this it? Is he gone?” Then, in 30 seconds, he would start breathing again. This happened over and over. You never get used to it. I came to realize something. Few will admit to this. I was mad at God. People will say, “It does you no good to be mad at God. He is bigger and can outlast you.”

I was not mad because Dad had cancer. I was not mad because Dad was dying. I was mad because Dad was ready and wanted to go, and God did not take him. I was asking, “Why not take him, God, end his suffering. Why does he have to lie there and suffer more? He is ready.” Then I discovered another aspect I did not want to face.

What I was not saying, was something hidden deep within me. “God, why do I have to be here and watch this? Why do I have to go through this also? Can’t you make this easier for me? End this suffering. I am tried of this God.” I didn’t think God was being fair. Why am I the only one in the room experiencing this?. Everyone else is always in the lobby laughing and joking.

The truth was not an easy pill to swallow, but I had too. I had to repent and ask forgiveness for my own selfishness. The truth was, I was where I wanted to be. It was my choice and I do not regret it. I don’t think other family members could have handled it, but I could.

There is another old saying. “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Sometimes your feelings and emotions block reality. You can’t see it. I finally realized what God had done for me. God had allowed my Dad to live long enough to see his son graduate Bible college. Dad was awake and alert until after I graduated. I was allowed that time with him. As always, God does not make mistakes.

The end came 10 days after I graduated. Dad’s body finally lay down and gave up his spirit. I held his hand and said goodbye. I said, “I Love You, Dad” and I meant it. I had a life of abuse and neglect. To a large degree, it had been a horror story.

The last six months of Dad’s life, I learned more about him than I ever knew before. WE spent more personal time together, than we had, in my whole life. A funny thing happens when you are close to dying. Reality sets in. You are not scared to open up and show your real self.

You do not have time to play games anymore. Being macho-man no longer matters. You are no longer afraid to share your feelings, emotions, and tears. You realize there are things that need to be said and made right. You realize what is really important.

I loved my Dad for the man he finally became. I could say it and mean it.

Four months after Dad died, God Called Me To Preach. I was ordained and I have been in Ministry ever since. I wish my Dad could have heard me teach or preach one time. Maybe God allowed it from Heaven, and  I just don’t know it. I think in some way, God took the calling my Dad refused and gave it to me.

I received only 2 things that belonged to my Dad. My grandmothers family Bible and my Dad’s little engraved Bible. I gave the family Bible to my brother, Bill. He is the oldest and I felt he should have it. I kept Dad’s little engraved Bible (the one Sherffey gave him). It will pass down to my son. What I have inside of me, is the most valuable part of my Dad.

Someone may be wondering, “What about your Mom?” At age 21, I started a relationship with Mom again.  My mother had many friends. She was well thought of in her church. She was dedicated to her friends and church.

I truly wanted a good relationship with mom. I learned to accept, whatever I received from her. I will say, “No matter what I did or how hard I tried, things were never right.” I wanted to be close to Mom, but it never happened. I am very grateful both my brothers did have that closeness with mom.

My brother, Allen, lived a very wicked life. God opened Allen’s eyes and changed him. He did become a Christian. By this time, alcohol and health problems had taken its toll. This put Allen in an early grave. I preached Allen’s funeral as he requested.

My brother, Bill, is great. We are very close. He still lives in South Carolina. He is a dedicated Christian. He learned many lessons growing up and being abused. Bill determined never to live that way again. He is a great father and family man. Bill is still my hero.

My stepmother once told me, “I have been married to the best man and the worst man in the world. And he is the same man!


What did I learn from all of this? How did this influence my life? I know I could write a lot about this. This week makes 31 years since my Dad died. I have had plenty of time to think and evaluate. I wrote this because I needed to finally express it and share it. My kids will always have this. They will know where their Dad came from and the life he lived.

How did I survive?

(KJV Psalm27:10) “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”

It was the prayers of two sets of grandparents and a Christian uncle and aunt. Hard lessons in life will make you bitter or better. I am not bitter. We do not always see the things of God in our life.

(KJV Romans 8:28) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Many miss an important principle in this verse. It does not say, Everything that happens in our lives is good.” It does say, “God can take it and bring good out of it.” And He did!

God still has the power to mend and heal broken lives. God is able to change people when they cannot change themselves. Never give up, call on God.

I hate alcohol. I do not drink and never have. I determined and vowed, never to be like Dad or Mom. I have two children and they are both grown. I raised them in church. I had family Bible study with them. I prayed with them. I tell them and show them how much I love them. They both know I am proud of them. My kids know, their Dad will not allow anyone to abuse them.

I am not and never have been a perfect parent. I made mistakes with my kid just like any parent. My life was wretched, but it made me determined, NOT to make the same mistakes my parents made. There is one mistake I did not make. I never waited until I was dying or the end of my life, to show my kids love.

I have always told my kids, how much I love them. I will never stop. My kids always hug me and say, “I love you Dad.”

I know this has been a very long article. If you have stayed and read to the end, I have to say, ‘THANK YOU so much. I hope something I said or shared will benefit you. I am posting a picture of me in the black shirt and my Dad in the brown shirt. This was his younger years. I will end this by saying, “I love you dad and miss you.”


Your thoughts and comments are welcome, so leave them below. RAY



This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. SherrieLeShell

    My dear brother, I can totally relate to this testimony. I wanted to cry the entire time I was reading but I head it back because I know you do not want me feeling sorry for you, so, I won’t. But, will say how proud I am of ;you that you were able to deal with this pain and share it for others to read. It has definitely inspired me to write through my pain, for that, I thank you tremendously.

    1. Ray

      Thank you Sherrie. Life is a teacher and some lessons are harder than others. We are all human and make mistakes. Hopefully, we learn from those mistakes, and do not suffer the consequence from them. Life does not stand still for anyone. Life dictates that we all go on. If this has helped you to work through your pain, it is worth it.

  2. lyn


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