Friday, February 15, 2019

Dad

Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here. (Sue Monk Kidd).

When I think of my dad, I will forever picture a 45 year old man, with tan hands and a dark brown mustache. A witty, quiet man, who could often help you make sense of this complicated world with just a few words. A man who loves naps almost as much as he loves my mom, his wife of 52 years. He knows struggle more intimately than most, through the loss of his first born, a 7 year old boy named Douglas, and many other tales that are only his to tell. I hold his stories in my heart.


Doug, Dad and me


Ron Pratt, was born in St. Louis Missouri in 1938 to parents Agnes and Jesse. 



His best friend, Don Steinmeyer (left) and my dad (right in both pics.) "Our Dad was a babe", I told my sisters when we saw these pictures.

Dad graduated high school from St. John the Baptist, and went into the Navy for the next 5 years, 2 years in active duty and 3 years in the reserves. He started civilian life at Union Electric, the local Utility Company as a lineman, where he worked by day and then went to night school. He met my mom, Joan, when she was just 18, and he was 25 at the Cathedral Club, a group for young single Catholics. "We were in a Christmas Program. I danced and he played the banjo," shares my mom.  




They married in 1966, after a simple proposal that occurred one morning at Uncle Bill’s pancake house in St. Louis Missouri.  Together Ron and Joan had 4 children. Douglas was their first born, a precious son. Followed a few years later by me- (Hi- I'm Chrissy. Nice to meet you!). When Doug was just 7, he was hit by a car while crossing the street, and he died the next day. A year later, daughter Lisa was born. And last came the youngest, Katie.


Chrissy, Ron, Joan and Lisa
Katie, Dad and Lisa

I can remember times we only had one car, so my mom would wake us up while it was still dark out to take my dad to work at the Utility Company. We didn't have a lot of money growing up, but even then, my fondest memories really have nothing to do with cost. A big night at our house involved a TV movie and popcorn popped right on the stove. "I'm popping," my dad would say. "Who is pouring?" It was my mom's job to pour Kool Aide from a plastic tupper wear pitcher, or if we were really lucky, Hawaiian Punch stored in the fridge in a half gallon metal can. I can almost taste the slight tinge of metal and the pure sweetness of childhood.







Recently my dad had surgery to remove a benign cyst in his brain, located specifically in his cerebellum. Hopes were high and the surgeon didn’t seem too concerned. But a few hours after surgery, my dad became unresponsive. He was rushed back into surgery that same night, where they discovered a blood clot that had formed. It did damage, and recovery is not what was initially expected. Greyson and I flew from Fresno, California the next morning. I was terrified the entire flight that I would land to the news that my dad had died. 




He remained in the ICU for several weeks and transferred to a skilled nursing facility a few days ago. We are working to transfer him to a different Skilled Nursing Facility, one that can better take care of his needs. He has fallen a few times and has a huge knot and abrasion on his head and a black eye. Not being there able to help him feels like drowning. I am going back to Missouri soon, and my only goal is to sit and hold his hand with my family around. There is so much that has to be done (transfer facilities, figure insurance out, sell my parents home- it's got three stories and will not work again, find an accountant to help with my dad's Real Estate books...drowning...) We will do 24 hours at a time, while chipping away daily at the future. 24 hours we can do. My dad has always taken care of us, and deserves the best- He is a precious part of many hearts. 

In parenting they say, "It all goes by so fast." The same rings true for being a child, and watching your parents grow up and old too. It's all so fast. Now that I am a parent and see just how dang hard it is, I appreciate my parents even more.

If you are the praying type, we sure would appreciate yours. I am my father's daughter, and he is my heart. I needed you to know just a glimmer of my dad and his story. He helps me remember who I am. 


He is my safe place

Thank you God, for our dad. We really got a good one.

So much Love,

Chrissy

9 comments:

  1. So much love to you, friend. What a beautiful tribute to your dad. I am the praying type and will keep your dad and entire family in mine.

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  2. Chrissy,
    I’ll never forget seeing your family at church for my wedding. It was wonderfully unexpected and felt like home on such an important day. I think about that memory and the good feelings it brought still to this day. I’m praying so hard for your family to make it through this time. I feel your love for your Dad in your words and my heart breaks knowing how scary this time must be for you all. Sending love and prayers to you all.

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  3. Love and prayers to you all

    Colleen

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  4. prayers for you and your dad! What a wonderful and heartfelt post.

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  5. I’ll pray. Longtime reader coming out of the lurkdome. I think the hardest thing about getting older is watching our parents get older, and the juggle of parenting our own children while we also care for our own parents is hard. Really hard. Hugs to you and your family.

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  6. Thanks for giving us such a beautiful portrait of the wonderful you know as Dad. I'm praying for you and your family today.

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  7. Thinking of you and your family, and hoping things are going well.

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