Friday, April 26, 2019

Remembering My Daddy (Clarence Friend)

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14 years ago today, April 26, 2005, was the worst day of my life...the day I lost my Daddy.  It started out as a really fun day.  My Dad, my Mom, my sister Sandy and I went into Marion because they all had prescriptions that needed picked up at the pharmacy.  Everyone was laughing and joking and having a great time.   We were planning to go out to eat at Ryan's (which was Dad's favorite place to eat) but we didn't make it that far. 

Trooper and Dad, Salt River Canyon, Arizona (They are together in Heaven)
I needed a car and Dad had heard about one that a friend of his had and he wanted to check it out for me.   So we went to look at it before going to eat.  And that's when the day turned bad. 

It happened so fast.  It's just a blur...me kneeling in front of him, holding his face in my hands, begging him to hold on and to just breathe.  Mom standing behind him with her arms wrapped around him, begging him to hold on.   Sandy standing out by the road waiting to flag down the ambulance because we didn't know the exact address of where we were, torn between wanting to be with him and needing to make sure the ambulance driver knew where to stop... 


Trooper and Dad in Glendale, Arizona
He fought so hard to stay with us, but his heart had been through so much that it was too weak to keep beating.  Mom and I knew he was gone...he took his last breath as the ambulance arrived.  The strongest man I ever knew, my hero, my Daddy...was gone.

Dad at a roadside rest stop somewhere between Ohio and Arizona...Probably Missouri
Not wanting to accept that he was gone, I asked the ambulance driver if Dad would be ok.  Choking back the tears and unable to look me in the eye, he replied, "We're trying."  You see, all of the EMTs knew my Dad.  They liked and respected him.  My sister Sharon was one of their dispatchers and they had all made many runs with Dad over the years.  And this guy didn't want to tell me that they were not going to be able to save him this time.  But I knew.  I knew when Dad took his last breath and that it was already too late when the EMTs reached him.  But still, they tried.

Mom and Dad, Salt River Canyon, Arizona
People say that it gets easier as time goes by.  But it doesn't.  The pain of losing him never goes away.  It gets a little easier to handle sometimes, a little easier to carry, but it is always there.  I still cry sometimes.  I'm crying now as I write this. 

I look at my husband and my kids and it makes me sad that my Dad never got to meet them...he never got to know them.   And he would love them all so much.   But I know he is watching over us all from Heaven.  

Dad
I will never stop missing him.  I would give anything for one more hug, one more kiss, one more time hearing him say "I love you Babe", one more time hearing him sing those silly songs that he loved to sing.  Just one more time seeing that ornery Daddy grin that we all loved so much.

Dad
I tell my husband and kids all of the little stories about Dad.  I tell them over and over again, trying to bring his memory to life for them.  His picture sits on the shelf where it can be seen all the time.  And I show them snapshots that I took of family vacations, holidays and get togethers.  They listen to my stories and they tell me all the time how they wish they could have known him.  The kids think it's funny that Dad's nickname was "Pig" and that I called him "Piglet".


Dad in Glendale, Arizona
I can see so much of my Dad in my kids.  They definitely inherited his orneriness.  Kirianna in particular has his ornery grin.  Julia and Ray inherited his beautiful blue eyes.

Dad, Salt River Canyon, Arizona
As traumatic as the experience was, I am very thankful that I was with Dad in his final moments.  I am thankful that I got to spend that final day with him. 

Dad, Salt River Canyon, Arizona
My Dad was a great man, loved by all who knew him.  He was strong, ornery, honest, a man of his word, a preacher, stubborn and had a heart of gold.  He would do anything he could to help someone out, whether he knew them or not.  He was a loving husband to my Mom and a wonderful, loving father to my 4 brothers, 4 sisters and me. 

Zippy and Dad in our front yard in Ohio...he was doing a rain dance with the rain stick I gave him
I know that he is resting peacefully now, he's no longer in pain.  But I wish he was still here.  I know it's selfish of me, but I can't help it.  I know he is watching over us.  But I want to feel his hugs again, kiss his cheek, hear his voice and his laugh again... 

Dad, Salt River Canyon, Arizona
He was the best father anyone could ever have. And I am very thankful, happy and proud that he was mine. I miss you and I love you Daddy.

Mom and Dad, Salt River Canyon, Arizona
Dad's headstone that was hand made by my brother Ray

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