Back in October of 2009, I wrote this entry about my father, John F. King. Today, I sadly update it.
On Thursday, October 3, 2013, my father passed away, just 24 days shy of his 85th birthday. My sister planned a trip to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, where they live to visit my parents. Upon hearing the news, my father told my mother and sister, that the best early birthday gift for him, would be if I could also fly down and visit too. Quietly, we planned to surprise him and my husband would accompany me, for an even more fun visit.
My parent's wedding anniversary is September 27th and this year was their 60th. The day before their anniversary, my father was rushed to the hospital and admitted to ICU. After numerous tests, they determined he had a massive staph infection. After a recent hip replacement and heart valve replacement, there were many areas of concern.
My husband and I flew down as planned, which was only a few days later and rushed to the hospital. FYI (For Your Information) if you rent a car in St. Thomas, get one with a GPS. Trying to get directions from locals to the only hospital on the island can be frustrating. If we weren't under such stress, I would have found humor in our situation.
I must give a special thanks to the "Good Samaritan" who finally led us directly to the hospital. We never got his name and believe God truly sent him to aid us. Also, special thanks and prayers for the staff in ICU and his doctors, who with compassion and dedication eased his stay and final passing. I watched their faces and saw the pain when they lost a patient and their joy when a patient is upgraded and transferred out of ICU. They are dedicated men and women, to whom we owe a deep gratitude.
On Dad's last day, he was at his best, since admitted to the hospital. We joked and laughed. As a family, we shared precious time and prayers. This is memory, I will always cherish. We left the hospital, believing we would all be back encouraging him to get better the next day, he crashed. The call came to us as we were across the street from the hospital and we rushed back. After being given CPR and being paddled, he was stabilized. It was then, he decided that he wanted a "Do Not Resuscitate" DNR order. We all stayed with him and encouraged him to rest and get stronger, again believing we would see him the next morning.
Again, we laughed, joked, talked, loved and prayed. After we left, once more he crashed. This time, the Lord God took him into his arms.
It seems surreal to me, to imagine my father is gone. He, with my mother molded me into the vibrant woman I am today. In fact, I am so like my father, that my mother kept accidental calling me by my father's name. I wonder how many women are named John? Just saying......
I truly believe, it was God's guidance that brought us together at this time.
I ask you, if you have someone you haven't spoken to in a long time, someone you love and care about, take a moment from your busy schedule and call or visit them. You may never know when it will be the last time you see or talk. Life is precious and time, here on Earth, is limited. Don't let either slip through your hands.
This is the original blog:
For those who expected a political rant, you will be disappointed.
Today, I am writing of a true life love story. Not a story of
strangers, by a stranger, but one about me and my Dad. To those who
seek dirt and decadence, look elsewhere. You will be let down.
has prompted me to write about my Dad, is that today, hundreds of miles
away, he underwent cancer surgery, and I couldn’t be there. Guilty
conscious? Maybe, but he knows and understands what has kept me away.
I spoke to him and Mom several times today and have passed the updates
to my younger brother and sister all through the day. Never once did
my family doubt my love and devotion to them, nor did I ever once try
to hide my love for each of them. That is true family!
started more than 50 years ago, in a rural hospital on Long Island, New
York, when I was born. Although, I was the second child of my parents,
John and Rita, I was the first girl born in my father’s family in seven
generations of boys only.
When the doctor came into the “Fathers
Waiting Room” (back then Dad’s didn’t go into the birthing room or
anywhere near it!) and told my Dad, you have a healthy baby girl. My
Father cried. He cried out, before asking about Mom, “She’s going to
get married and leave me!” The Doctor tried to comfort him, “Uh, Mr.
King your wife is Okay, too”, or did he ever hear the rest of the
I have known Dad to cry only twice in my life.
On the day I was born and the day we laid his father to rest. He
didn’t cry when his mother died, because my grandfather was already
suffering from dementia and he feared causing him more confusion and
pain. On that final day, he grieved for both of his parents
got a little better as the years went on. Mom added another brother
and sister to make a four pack. Two boys and two girls. Yet, somehow,
I remained Daddy’s little girl, despite his attempt to be impartial
with each of us.
me introduce you to Dad. He grew up one of two boys through the
Depression. His parents took in other kids and helped raise them. His
father was a World War I veteran from the battlefields of Germany.
Ironically, his father, my grandfather was brought over here by my
great-grandfather from Germany, who dropped into an orphanage, where,
with his brother was left to grow up, alone.
Years later, my
great-grandfather reappeared and Grandpa King took care of him, until
his fathers’ death. My grandfather, during The War To End All Wars,
knowing the temperament against anyone with a German last name, change
it to it’s Anglican translation. Back then, daushounds were being burnt
in the streets and German-americans were also targets of sometimes
I could write volumes about both sets of my grandparents, but I only needed to give you some of my Dads’ family background.
a child, Dad saw one of his friends killed, when the boy got off of the
school bus and ran in front of it. From that day forward, Dad
suffered from a stuttering problem, which, when excited it becomes
pronounced. Growing up, I too, had the stuttering problem and have
worked hard to overcome it.
When WWII broke out, Dad was still in
school. His mother refused to let him enlist. However, upon the day
he turned 18, Grandma had no longer a voice or choice. Dad enlisted.
One minor problem. On the day Dad was born, the doctor was in a hurry
and never got the new born baby’s name properly entered on the birth
certificate. Standing in formation, just off the bus and ready for
induction, the Drill Instructor called out Dad’s birth certificate
name… Baby Boy King, OOPS!
Never was a legal name change done
so fast, all the while going through boot camp! Dad also, served in
Germany. Uncle Sam has a funny sense of humor!
Dad had an
ability to work with electronics, which earned him an ARMY teaching
position, when technology was just expanding. As a civilian, Dad was a
maverick and had his own TV and Radio repair business during the late
50’s and early 60’s. It wasn’t until the 80’s when Mom and Dad had to
buy their first Television. We always watched broadcasts on cast-offs
or repaired sets.
With a growing family, Dad was forced to seek job
stability and was hired by a major HiFi producer and marketing
company. But to get ahead, he needed a college degree. Now, Dad worked
during the day and went college at night. Mom worked at night at the
local hospital and took of care of us during the day.
what I call the revolving door days or today they would call us “latch
As a kid, we did everything that they tell kids not to do
today. Running through woods, playing ball in the street, disappearing
for hours without telling anyone. But, we completed our homework and
household chores first, raised hell later.
During those early years, I
was just starting elementary school. Dad would come home with math
problems. He wrote a few and watched as I solved them. I didn’t know
it then, but I was already doing algebra before I even mastered the
school mandated multiplication table.
Words fascinated me and
listening to Mom and Dad’s friends at the house parties and dinner
table conversation, gave me a strong verbal basis.
We, each of
the four kids, were encouraged to read a book and the newspaper each
day and be ready to talk about it, until my older brother proved to be
hard wired as a liberal and dinner conversations soon became fights.
Soon, when each of us were old enough to go our own way, family holiday
gatherings became the only time we all were together. Growing up,
each of us took up a musical instrument. I chose the violin, my two
brothers took brass instruments, my sister a woodwind. When
speaking about music, its’ composition, sounds and performances, my
father and I were soul mates. Math and music, yes they are joined and
was also an inventor, but the company he worked for claimed all of his
hard work, and credit. Most of the stereo equipment of the 70’s and
80’s had his hand upon it. I sat many a day in our living room as he
tested tone-arms, speakers, recording equipment and other fidelity
components and he would asked me to tell him which sounded best. To
this day, I can’t tolerate discord or loud high pitch noises. It’s like
asking a wine connoisseur to drink vinegar.
Ah, but Dad was
more. He taught us how to repair the TV and radio, when tube TVs and
radios were the rage. He taught us how to build a skate board and soap
box car as well as a snow fort. He took us fishing and taught us to
swim. He built us a sand box, a swing set and found the money for a
backyard pool. All the while, he worked hard and still went to night
school. Yet, I cannot forget the love and care he gave his own
parents and his in-laws. But that is a book, in its-self.
the day I was set for my Dad giving me my first driving lesson, I bopped
out of the house all ready to slide behind the steering wheel. Dad
had another idea in mind. The hood stood open and a tool box lay out
near the front tire. Smile on his face, Dad said, “You are going to
file and re-gap the spark plus, rotate the tires, tune the engine,
change the oil and adjust the headlights before you even think about
getting behind the wheel.”
A face full of oil and a day later, I put
the car in reverse and proceeded to take out a wall of the garage.
Driving lesson was over that day.
After repairing the wall, we pulled
out just fine, but every time he said left, I turned right, and every
time he said right, I turned left. What do you expect? Mom and Big
Brother are left handed, Dad and I are right.
Well, in truth, I am
ambidextrous, so it is confusing. Dad had me park the car, he stormed
into the house and came out with a red magic marker, To this day, I
can still fell the marking as he wrote a big L on my left hand and an R
on my right hand. Only then, did the driving lesson continue. (By the
way, I passed on the first test. Took my little sister three times to
pass the driving test. Funny, she was top ten in the Bar Exam on first
try. Must be a spatial thing?)
My older brother got the Pell
Grants to attend college. By the time I entered college, our family
was not eligible. My Dad was the first person in his family to
graduate college and he struggled to pay for it and support a growing
family. I was the first grandchild to get a college degree. Despite
any lack of funding, I worked, at times, three jobs and paid my way,
without loans or grants, just like my Dad.
One day, my
girlfriend and I wanted to go out dancing. I borrowed five dollars from
my father. One week later, I hadn’t repaid it. He stood before me
with his hand out and asked me for his five dollars. Powerful lesson!
Never borrow what you can’t or wont pay back. More important, never
let your loved ones down.
I can go on about our family, but it
would be a book. I could talk about Dad’s sorrow as his mother slowly
deteriorated and his father as he slowly succumbed to dementia, or
their slow painful passing. I could also speak of my Grandfather (
Mom’s Dad) needing constant blood transfusions, he suffered from
cancer, and my parents driving hours each way to donate blood, all the
while they took care of Dad’s parents, their pressing needs, Dad had
time for his own wife and us.
For hours, I could tell you of how
he taught me in the 60’s, when girls were discouraged to do so, to
throw a baseball, football, ride a skate board, snow sled and make a
mean snowball. He built me a doll house and taught me to dance. Even
when busy with work and school, he showed up at my school plays,
recitals and found music scores and recordings to educate and please
me. I knew how to swing a hammer, saw, rewiring, plumb the basics,
work a garden, paint, sand and much more. He made sure I was self
When I wrecked the family car, he was more concerned about
my health than the car, well until the insurance estimate came in.
When my second husband
asked him for my hand in marriage, he listened and looked at me, saw my
love and gave his approval.
For fifty plus years, I have been his
little girl, and he is still my Daddy.
Today, well by the time
this is written, Dad has already gone through prostrate cancer
surgery. It was very scary with his severe heart complications. He’s
is now doing well. He’s a fighter.
Thank the LORD, he is doing fine.
He’ll be 83 this year and everyday I cherish his being and his love. I
cannot imagine a day in my life without both my mother or my father.
Dear GOD, please keep them healthy for a very long time, I love them too
much to lose them!