Amazing Grace and Daddy

Nancy Evans Parr

"AMAZING GRACE" will forever remind me of my dad. Hi, my name is Nancy and I'm 45 years old, married and the mother of two daughters, ages 25 and 16. It's been close to 16 months since Daddy died; he passed away on Dec. 31, 1995 and we had his funeral on my 44th birthday, Jan. 02, 1996.

I grew up extremely close to my dad; I'm the oldest of three children. I'm 9 years older than my brother and 13 years older than my sister; so until the birth of my brother, I was content being the 'only child'. I guess I've always been a 'daddy's girl' because he and I were so alike. We just had so much in common. And as I grew up and became a parent myself, I began to understand my father in so many ways.

I always respected him immensly and went to him for advice often. He was always 'there for me' in so many ways. I grew up in a Christian home; always going to church. Daddy even sang in the choir and had a beautiful man's voice. I can vividly remember hearing him sing solo several times over the years.

Briefly, Daddy developed peptic ulcers back in 1957 and was hospitalized. During the stay, he had massive blood transfusions due to the bleeding. He later developed hepititus from the transfusions. The illness lay dormant for many years until he became ill and, after a liver biopsy, it was discovered he was suffering from Cirrhosis. He was very embarrased by the illness because my father never drank in his life. Although the illness is fatal, he was told it had affected only about 20 percent of his liver and could live another 15 years or more. (This was in 1987.)

Healthwise, Daddy got along very well until around 1992. He began to have different medical problems and all of them basically were associated with the Cirrohsis. By January 1995, he had to go into the hospital to have fluid removed from the abdomen. He went into a hepatic coma and we were told he probably would not awaken. For three days and nights, we heard this wonderful man sing and pray to his God and beg to go home. But he did wake up and he was even able to go home.

From that point on, Daddy sang "Amazing Grace" almost daily. He loved that song and his voice would bring you to your knees. He became very ill on two more occasiond during 1995. In November, he once again had to be hospitalized and we were told that he would never go home again. Even he knew the end was very near. We requested Hospice take him as a patient and I will forever be thankful to all the great men and women of our local Hospice.

Daddy lived approximately 40 days after going home that last time. During those 40 odd days, I helped to take care of him. Mostly, I sat with him nights and sitting with Daddy didn't mean going and sitting down and cat-napping. It literally meant sitting up with him all night. He would sing and pray and talk to me about so many things. I wouldn't take anything in the world for those last weeks of his life.

One night stands out in my mind. He was very ill and feeling so bad; I was sitting on the floor near his bed and he was trying to sing Amazing Grace. He would get confused and couldn't remember the words. So, I stood by the bed and took his hand and he said "Sing with me". I can't sing a note with a gun to my head; so we made a compromise. I'd say a verse of the words and he would sing them. We went through the song over and over for the longest time. One of the Hospice volunteers came in to bring some supplies and she heard us. A few minutes later, she looked around the room where we all sat (or stood) and she said "One day these will be precious memories to you all". She had no idea of just how much truth was in her statement.

I miss him so much still and can't help but wish for just 'one more time', but I know that he is in Heaven and I know that when that great choir up there sings, my daddy is leading on Amazing Grace. I can't wait to get up there and hear his voice once again. Maybe then, I'll be able to sing along with him; I won't have to just 'say' the words.

He was a great father and he helped me so much more than he will ever know. Through his love, I've grown into a very sensative, loving person. Through his religion, he has helped me to see the way to finding my Lord. Because of him, I was born not only once, but twice. Thank you, Daddy. I love you forever.

Nancy Evans Parr

You can send email to Nancy at: [email protected]
mail welcome

anniversary date 12-31-95
date of post 04-20-97

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW