Still can’t believe it’s been 2 years since his passing. I wrote this back in April but decided to save it to post in his honor for Father’s Day. This was cathartic for me in writing this and it was needed. Happy Father’s Day to all my friends who are Dads. May your day be as special as ya’ll are!
Bobby Jack Stirling
January 31, 1927 – April 15, 2010
Country music. Dad loved country music. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and eventually the family moved to Texas, so he was raised in the south and on country music. He instilled a great love of the music in me, and to this day, I love it; especially the “Old School” Country. Dad loved to listen to the greats, such as Merle Haggard and Tennessee Ernie Ford; bet you haven’t heard THAT name in years, have you? Dad couldn’t sing a tune in a bucket but he sure enjoyed listening.
Dad’s been gone for two years, this month; on the 15th. Suddenly today, I really got to missin’ him. I was listening to a tribute to the great Earl Scruggs and something in there just reminded me of those things that Dad really got a kick out of.
I’ll never forget, and will always be grateful to the Lord, that on the day Dad passed away, my oldest daughter, Sarah, was visiting there for the evening with plans to have dinner with them. I was going to stay home and get some work done, but I was strongly impressed by the Holy Spirit to join both her and my youngest, Rachel, to head over for some family time that evening.
Dad had been having some physical issues and was scheduled for surgery the following week to replace his heart valve, and this was our main topic of discussion that evening. Still, we all had a great time. When it was time to leave, around 8 pm, I was again strongly impressed by the Holy Spirit to pray for Dad and asked him if it would be okay for me to pray for him before we left. He agreed, so I gently laid my hand on his and, in part, asked God to please bring healing to his body from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Afterward, we all hugged him good-bye, (not knowing that it would be the last hug we would ever give him,) said our ‘good nights’ and ‘we love yous’ and went back to our place.
Once settled at home, the girls were relaxing, watching TV. I was up in my office working, when the phone rang at 10 pm. It was Mom, letting me know that Dad had collapsed; she hadn’t been able to get any response out of him and she’d called the Fire Department. (just across the street from them). The first responders got there in no time and immediately began working on him. They transported him to the hospital in Antioch while Mom, the girls and I, followed in our cars. I haven’t a clue why we took 2 cars, but we did, and on the way to the hospital, I called my son and daughter-in-law, and my brother, Paul. I asked him to call our sister, Carol.
We got to the hospital front desk, where we were immediately escorted to a back room and asked to wait. Although it seemed like an eternity, a nurse soon came in and verified who we were, then very gently informed us that, although the paramedics had worked on him all the way to the hospital, they were unable to resuscitate him; he was gone. Although I think we already knew in our hearts, we were still in shock.
The next day, as we began making preparations for my Father’s Memorial and Burial Service, and after some discussion, we came to believe that God decided Dad was too frail to withstand the rigors of surgery and probably wouldn’t have made it through; so, to save all of us that trauma, He took him home after our last time together that night. I am very sad we weren’t there until the very end; but in a way, we were. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God had us go there for that last visit for that very reason.
Even though I would have loved to have been there when Dad left this earth, I also believe strongly that the prayer that God impressed upon me to pray for him that very night was answered; not in a way that I had hoped for nor intended, but as God’s ways are much higher than our ways, He had indeed heard my prayer and answered my request for Dad’s healing. All praise and glory goes to my Heavenly Father for His faithfulness to His children. Amen!