This page may include affiliate links. There is no cost involved even if you click on a link. The Caregiver's Journal may receive a commission if you decide to buy the product, service, or simply click on a link, which is immeasurably appreciated.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day 2018: Year One

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. ~Psalm 37:25

It's Father's Day. The first for us since Dad had his stroke. For many it won't be an easy day. Some fathers left this Earth, others have been absent for years, and some, like mine, can no longer look after themselves. 

Yes, it was a rough year to say the least, but somehow we managed to find the blessings and hidden treasures, too. Of course for Dad, this new path he travels on is filled with super black holes. It's unfamiliar territory ... for the whole family. But this I know, he will not have to travel through the scary shadows alone. 

Tough Guy in New Guinea
Obviously it's difficult to see him struggle. Dad was one of those tough guys ... I think. I was too young to remember the truth, so I rely on the family stories. However, I have seen the evidencethose blackmail photographs. 

On many occasion he's told me that he and his friends rode their motorcycles through uncharted jungle paths. Well, maybe not totally uncharted, but roads less traveled by for sure.

He tells his life story like it happened to someone else, with a smile on his face, and sort of non-chalantly. I mean what comes to your mind when someone says "I was a child POW"? Or "My brother and I were on a train once in Indonesia when heavily armed guerrillas attacked us." 

Luckily my Opa, Dad's father, was also on board with them and being a KNIL soldier (Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger, translated, Royal Dutch Indonesian Army) he fired back. In the midst of that fire storm, bullets shattering glass and bouncing off steel, Dad  and his brother had to reload Opa's guns. Tough guy, I told you.

Dad and Me (Probably 1959) in Hollandia, New Guinea
He was a brave young man as well. At 18 (or thereabouts) he took his younger brother and escaped to the island of Sorong-Doom. It's an interesting story indeed, and I'll save it for another post. 

In any case, what's braver than having two kids and being there for them every day of their lives? That's my dad.

He was a great provider, an out-of-the box thinker and always trusting God for the provisions we didn't have but needed. I learned to trust the Lord because of him, and to not be anxious for anything. Actually, that's an ongoing lesson, but he lived it out well. 

He was also our protector, our great intercessor, a prayer warrior, a gentle teacher—2-hour personal mini sermons now appreciateda faithful and humble servant of a small community church, and most important to us, a good Papa. He didn't get a chance to go to college, and he finished high school when he was in his twenties. But he was book smart, and spiritually intelligent. God was always first in his life, we came in at a healthy second, and ministry placed third.  

I wish we had given him more credit, or said "I love you," more often or showed our appreciation for all the things he was and did. At one point he took on any job to provide for his family. That's what men did, or do, right? 

These days he feels guilty because he can't do much on his own anymore. This, more than the stroke, cripples him.

Tears hinder him sometimes. He's worried that he would never be able to pay me back. After I found this note on the kitchen table, I teared up myself. Take in to consideration that he has a hard time writing or even putting his thoughts in order. 

Translation of note: I'm on my chair. What mercy. What mercy. From all the horror. Mercy. Debby Thank you. I cannot repay you. My alphabet. Thank you forever. FOREVER. 10,000 forevers.

Building a bird aviary
We've had a rough year. He's had a rough year. Before the stroke he was an active senior citizen, full of life, driving places, gardening, and still building thingshis favorite thing to do. He built an outdoor kitchen with a roof, a bird aviary, and painted the backyard fence.

At 85, however, he had to start life over. He was sort of a clean slate but stained with jumbled information. A highway of endless tentacles straggled around his brain forcing him to relearn many basic things including how to eat, drink, walk, talk, and even sleep. 
A man and his tools. 

Care-giving isn't easy, but like I've said before I never really had a second or even a first thought about taking on this role. It's my dad, he took care of me since I came out of the womb. Ah, that wonderful circle of lifemy turn to return the favor. Happy Father's Day Papa!

Papa, Mama, me, and baby brother in Holland

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, here goes—I mean, Amen. ~C.S. Lewis


  1. Beautiful! What a remarkable man and Father. Loved hearing about the note he wrote to you and the sentiment of his words.

  2. Thanks Julie. Yeah, I had trouble writing this post until I remembered the note.

  3. Deb, very nice! A privilege and a honor to know your dad for over 30 years. Anyone can preach the gospel... Your parents lived the gospel. Love them!