My Dad, My Hero

For over a year my daddy has battled lung cancer and liver cancer. He has been brave and forgiving and kind throughout the whole ordeal. Thursday morning he departed from this world. I had the blessing of being with him during his final moments, as did my brothers and sisters. I have so many thing I want to say about him, that I want the world to know. So, I post this in honor of my dad and I hope that everyone who reads will identify and remember someone who loved you and made a difference in your life.

Quotes from my dad.

“It don’t matter if you got money or things. What matters is that you got family and that you stick together. That you love each other. Without love, the rest is a big fat zero.”
— William Henry Franklin

“I’m gonna tell you something. People say a lot of things. It don’t matter what people say. It just matters what God says.”
—William Henry Franklin

A Verse He Loved:

1 John 5:13 (King James Version)
13These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
My dad and I read and discussed this Bible verses many times over the past year. It was probably his favorite verse, proving that his favorite story, that of the Prodigal Son, was a reality. John also says in another place, “He that hath the Son hath life…” my daddy knew this and it was his desire that everyone else know it, too.

My dad took me on my first fishing trip. He took me to the doctor when I had the measles and Momma had to stay home with the other kids, because there were so many of us. He sat with me for over an hour in the doctor’s office and held my hair when I vomited on the waiting room floor. I was five.

My dad took me to school on my first day of first grade. He walked me to the gym and told me everything would be okay. He held my hand, and I didn’t want to let go of him. I didn’t want to enter that strange new world.

My dad came and rescued me from a 4-H meeting when I was ten. He found me sitting in the corner, a poor little outcast, while the other kids who were members of a “click” totally ignored me. He said, “Sis, you’re not coming back. They’re not treating you right. You’re too good for that.” He believed in me, more than my peers, more than my teachers. And I wanted to throw my arms around him and tell him that he was my hero, but he was driving us home, so I couldn’t.

My dad taught me that the only safe place in the face of a tornado was in the arms of Jesus. I remember watching him pray when the weather forecast said a storm was coming and our basement was full of water. He prayed and I knew God heard him.

My dad taught me that family sticks up for each other when he confronted the school bus driver who refused to come all the way up to the house and get us in the midst of winter due to ‘legalities’. When my dad was done with the bus driver, those legalities were negotiable.

My dad taught me that you can’t get to heaven holding a grudge when he forgave someone who had clearly wronged and hurt him.

You may have known my dad for his humor, of which he had plenty, but I knew him as an embodiment of honor and integrity. If he made you a promise, there was no contract needed. He would perform what he had said. He believed in family and said some bonds are forever. He knew he loved my momma from the moment he saw her. He was willing to go to the ends of life itself to prove it. His greatest wish was that all of his children and grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles would come to know Jesus and his last words before he left this temporal realm were, “Love God”.

My father taught me that life isn’t about what you get, but rather what you give. Success isn’t a number in your bank account, but rather it’s the number of lives you’ve blessed, souls you’ve touched. He told me countless times that hearses are not accompanied by u-halls and that the only thing a man takes out of this world is what he brings into it. He brought love and light into it. He brought forgiveness and compassion. He found a reason to see the good in people no one else could see the good in. He believed that Jesus meant it when he said that God is love and we should love one another.

When I told him that I wanted to give away all the money from the sales of my book to fighting cancer and that I wanted to do it in his name, he said that he was honored. There are a lot of people who live their lives worried over the amount of land, houses and money they can acquire, but I say that a life not measured int he things given away, is a life of loneliness and bitterness. My dad was the most successful man I know and he left this world richer than all the kings of this world throughtout all of the ages combined.

He said to me when I was just a little girl, “Sis, money and things don’t mean nothing if you ain’t got love. Love and family. That’s what counts.”

14 thoughts on “My Dad, My Hero

  1. Darlene and family,

    Thank you for sharing this with us. We are truly sorry for your loss but celebrate the life of a wonderful father, grandfather and husband. I pray that you find comfort in the arms of our Lord as he carries you through this hard time and know that through Him, your dad continues to hold you close.

    • Thank you, Lisa.

      A good father is something that I wish every person on this planet could experience, but I know they don’t. You and I, and others like us, we are especially blessed.

  2. Darlene, I have been reading your book as you deal with the loss of your dear father. The story carried me back to my childhood, growing up poor, suffering many hardships, yet with parents who loved God and loved my siblings and myelf. Thank you for sharing this story and for sharing the post about your father. My dad has been gone for almost 30 years, yet the memory of him explaining Heaven to me is fresh in my mind. I lost my mom 10 years ago to breast cancer. Thank God for Christian parents and for the gift of storytelling he has given you. May God bless you and give you his wonderful peace.

    Jelaine Harlow

    • Jelaine,

      Dear Jelaine,

      Your post has blessed me so much. I think it doesn’t matter if it has been three days or thirty years. I think that like you, I’ll never forget. Thank you. It does my heart good to hear so many people talk about how the story carried them back. When I was a little girl, nine years old, my daddy told me that he wanted me to be a writer. I promised him I would do it. I had a Gideon Bible with two blank pages in the back. I thought the blank pages were God’s way of telling me that Daddy was right, that I was born to be a writer.

      I know that all of us, your mom, my dad, all those who die in the Lord, will be reunited one day and all of our separation anxiety will be gone forever.

  3. You own the talent of brilliant writing I must say. Your posts incorporates the reality which we cannot even get it anywhere else. It’s my humble request to u please keep such brilliant contents.And yes i have digg your site .

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