Words are sorely inadequate at expressing all that transpired these past few days. On Monday I had the privilege of flying to Buffalo to celebrate with my brother, cousins and a few friends my dad’s 90th birthday. Although I have not really talked much about my birth family today I just have to share about my dad.
When my dad was eleven years old he was hit by a car and landed on his head. It was 1939 and at that time the only thing the surgeon said was, “I wouldn’t give you a nickel for his life.” He had a Traumatic Brain Injury as a result and his recovery, although unexpected, was long. My dad has had many struggles over the years and many likely stem from his TBI. The kinda’ crazy thing is that even though he was not expected to live way back then he has now outlived all of his six siblings! Who would have guessed when he lay dying as a young boy that one day he would live to be 90? For sure his surgeon in 1939 would not have imagined! I’m sure my grandparents and aunts and uncles would have never believed it either. But God in His great grace has allowed my dad a very long life!
Sadly my dad has had Alzheimer’s now for a few years. This past summer he didn’t know me at all but instead thought I was one of his sisters. Almost every other day this past summer I would drive to Buffalo (from Dw’s family’s home place) to spend time with my dad. Being truthful, growing up my dad didn’t talk much to me. In fact I can’t ever remember a single conversation (not even a teeny-tiny two sentence one) he and I ever had. That might sound impossible, but trust me, I would have remembered it!
But this summer, as I sat with him, a most beautiful thing happened – my dad talked to me! Although the Alzheimer’s did not allow rational thoughts and he didn’t realize it was me I absolutely loved hearing him talk for hours. I returned to Arizona so very thankful for this unexpected blessing.
So with my dad’s 90th birthday approaching, my brother and I couldn’t let it pass without a special celebration and I flew to Buffalo to be part of it all.
On a sweet note, the kids and I had three special requests: (1) My dad would actually remember me! And although he didn’t remember me the day I arrived, he did seem to know who I was at his birthday party and again the day I flew out! (2) My dad would love the party and feel celebrated! Actually my dad really loves being the center of attention and he was in rare form! Everyone there loved his enthusiasm! There is no doubt he felt honored and loved! (3) That it wouldn’t snow at all while I was there! (Hey a girl can ask because if I care, my astoundingly faithful God does too!!) My flight left at 5:45 pm Thursday (although it was delayed till 5:55 pm) and yesterday morning I saw a Winter Storm Warning announcement on the freeways around Buffalo that read: “Winter Storm Warning: Thursday 5:30 pm – Friday 1:30 pm”!!
With my flight leaving at 5:45 pm and the storm expected at 5:30 pm I knew it would be close. I told the TSA woman at security that we were heading to the sunshine and warmth of Arizona and she said, “IF you get out!” Well apparently she didn’t know my kids had been praying – ha!
My mom (my parents have been divorced for many years) actually flew back with me and we literally took off minutes before the snow began. By the time we reached Phoenix, my cousin had texted me that the wind was wild, it was snowing crazy-hard and the schools were already closed for Friday! The Lord definitely answered our prayer – He was so good to me!
Several of my cousins came to celebrate my dad and I had not seen any of them in many, many years! Such an incredible joy to spend time with them – they are so precious – it was the highlight of my time in Buffalo! We have promised that we will all get together this coming summer!
My younger brother Neil and I.
Eternally grateful for all our gracious God did this past week in Buffalo….BUT if all that wasn’t good enough – something that was “the icing on the cake” happened too. I will share that next!