Grieving Over, Yet?

I woke up this morning, a good place to start.  In my goings, my comings, my interactions, I am asked that profound question that has been lurking close by, since the dinosaurs: “How are you doing today?”

Me: “How ‘you doin’?”

Others: “I’m doin’ good.  How you doin’?”  (Just like the commercial, with a New York accent – “How You Doin’?  I’m Doin’ Good.  How You Doin’?”)

Me: “Well, I woke up, this morning. That suggested that it was going to be a good day.”

I have a theory: most people know, that on some level, it is good to wake up.  Not everyone wakes up.  This morning, when sleep slipped away, I thought of my grieving.  Anyone who has (miraculously) read any of my posts might know that my dad finished up his race (a metaphor for his life), last year, 2016, June.  The grieving process has, seemingly,not been, successful.  Some say that this kind of loss involves a lengthy process, longer than a year and four months.  And yet, I’ve been on the other side of the forest from joy, from victory, from strength, from my dreams … Get the picture? The weariness of grief shows up in more ways than one: the darkness, the sadness, lack of motivation, the loss of dreams.  Evenings, the fatigue may hit like a freight train.  I don’t think this is as simple as I would like it to be.  Is your grieving over?  To think, that there is more life, a different life, just over the horizon.  That is a good thought.  Some of you have already reached that point.  Don’t stop: I’m right behind you.

Sunset Other Side of the Trees




One Year Later … I Still Want To Be Like My Dad

Yesterday, Saturday the 24th, I wrote this post … but was unable to send it until today.


Today, I pushed something away, something of importance.  Then I brought it back in, embraced it.  A year ago, my Dad finished his race, crossing the line into the Place where most of us will go, when we are finished here, a place where we don’t suffer anymore, and we are joyous beyond our comprehension. I know that place as Heaven.  It was the day my Dad died that I wrote a short tribute.…/06/24/dad-man-a-trib…/

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I have great confidence, he is happier than ever.  No pain.  I envision him sitting with countless individuals from the War, especially in the South Pacific, swapping stories of the good memories … only the good memories.  *NOTE: my dad is not in this picture.  But it reminds me of my dad, laughing.

Dad  was a golfer.  I get these images in my mind of beautiful fairways and greens, Dad hitting the ball well, avoiding the rough.  The weather is good, not too hot, slight breeze, the sun peeking out from time to time.

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It is good to remember: but what I remember, and  how I remember, is important.  Letting people, and my stuff, go as I put one foot in front of the other; as I make my efforts to love well, and grieve well; as I laugh when those wonderful opportunities come … These also important, along with remembering.  I have taken a good look at different pieces of my life, over the past  year, and one of those is my selfishness.  Dad’s not suffering.  So, maybe I am more concerned about myself.  When someone I love goes, because it is his time to go, and because he wants to go, rewarded for his life with a place of unfathomable goodness …Shouldn’t I be happy for them?  And I am.  Truly I am.  Yet, I am sad because there were signficant things that I wish I would have told him … things that I failed to tell him.  I miss his presence, although his pain and his fatigue prevented him from actually being … fully … present.  I write about all this, even though the man moved on a year ago, because I am trying to connect with my “here-and-now”: how his life affected me and impacts me on this day, in the night, in the mornings.  I am considering what he taught me, that I can apply today, if I have the courage to do so. Lastly, I am considering the precious people who are in my life now … so that I can enjoy  them, now … and love them, now.


A Ship


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USS PGM 22, PC 461 Class Gun Boat Minesweeper

A previous post about my father, “Dad Man”, surfaced recently, in my mind.  The nickname came about from me and my brothers.  More commonly known as Bill Davis, he was referred to by his close friends as “Billy”, or “Wild Bill”.  My Dad finished his race well that morning, June 24th of last year (2016),  transitioning into eternity.  The U.S. Navy provided a flag ceremony at his  funeral.  Dad served as the XO (executive officer), reporting to the commander.  Dad  cruised the South Pacific in WW2 on the 

Bill Davis, XO, PGM 22, WW2

 USS PGM 22, a PC 461 Class Gun Boat, sweeping and detonating mines.  My search for a picture of my Dad’s ship came up empty.  I did find a picture of a PC 461 Class Gun Boat, of the same class as Dad’s USS PGM 22.     The SC-497 was an off-shore patrol and anti-submarine warfare vessel. 

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During WW2, most minesweepers were mechanical.  “Sweeps”, or “sweep wires”, were submerged into the water, down to where the cable held the mine in place.  The sweep wires of the minesweeper then cut the cable, sending the mine up to the surface.  A sharpshooter then detonated the mine.  The first drawing is of a mechanical minesweeper.

The second drawing is of a more advanced minesweeper, which uses a “pavane”, similar in shape to a small plane.   My imagination places me on Dad’s ship, the  USS PGM 22, Dad in his U.S. Navy khakis.  I would have sat in the briefings, in the back, with others, while he issued the ship’s orders, and talking to the guys.  Now Dad Man is up in the heavens, cruising on a most excellent patrol boat minesweeper, where there are no mines, hanging out with all of his shipmates, and other Navy guys he never met in the war.  This post is about the grieving and loss we experience; and the joy of knowing others we love and care deeply about.  We explore the lives of those who have gone before us, who have finished their race.  We are on our own ships … maneuvering through the mines, using our sonar, thankful for a new day.










Dad Man: A Tribute

Bill Davis, AKA Dad Man on the right.


Odd, it is, such a nickname.  Not used exclusively.  We used “Dad” most of the time.  Grandkids called him “Popaw”, who was married to “MiMi” (short i). And if you weren’t family, he was known mostly as “Bill”; sometimes “Billy”; and rarely “Willy”.  Dad Man, also known as Bill Davis, was my Dad, as already Mentioned.  And Dad Man passed away this morning: Friday morning, 7:45 CDT.  We are hugely thankful that he did not suffer in his final week.  In fact, he fell asleep on Thursday the 16th, and continued sleeping until this morning.  Dad Man was on a U.S. Navy ship in the South Pacific, in WWII.  They did “mine sweeps”, sending divers down to release the mines; they would rise to the surface, where sharp shooters could detonate the bombs.  My Dad was a passionate high school basketball coach; a  high school principal; and he loved his golf.  His storytelling ability / giftedness was second to none.  He was authentic, trustworthy, and had real humility.  A great father, a great husband, and he loved to laugh … a laugh that was wildly contagious.

My last post was about the Return of the Prodigal.  This man in the picture is the Dad who always loved me, never rejected, always welcomed me.  A great man, Bill Davis.  I will miss him.

An Image of Hope

Hope, from an image.  Not just an image, but a painting.  Not just a painting, but a Rembrandt; Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son.

The Return of the Prodigal Son

Rembrandt’s painting connects with a biblical passage, Luke 12.  Here is my “Readers Digest” version, a short paraphrase that does not do the full story justice.  So, accept my apology.  A younger brother, working with his father and older brother in the field, complained to his father about the hard work, the boredom.  He wanted to leave with all of his inheritance immediately.  The father agreed, with great consternation.  The younger brother left on his adventure, and it was not long before he blew his inheritance on drink and revelry.  Hungry because he had no food, no money.  He got a job at a pig farm, and saw that the pigs were getting fed better than he was.  The younger brother then decided to go back home, humble himself before his father (he was truly humbled, broken, devastated) and apologize; he would take a job as a hired hand.  At least he would not go hungry.

The Prodigal Son, welcomed by the father

 When the prodigal son came into view from where his father stood, the father ran to his son with unfathomable gratitude that his lost son was back.    He instructed his servants to put together a feast.  The (above) painting shows the younger son, the prodigal, in his ragged clothes, humbling himself before his father, expressing his sorrow for being a fool, and leaving home.  The older son’s jealousy and anger with his younger brother.  The older brother stands to the right in the painting, looking on, with jealous and angry with his younger brother.

Rembrandt painted The Return of the Prodigal Son about two years before his death, suggesting that Rembrandt identified with the Prodigal.  Rembrandt died penniless, before his fame could catch up with him.

Other paintings resonate with the theme of The Return of the Prodigal Son, such as “Merry Company” by Gerrit van Honthorst (1623), showing the Prodigal squandering his inheritance.

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“Merry Company” Gerrit van Honthorst 1623


I refer to hope, in this post, connected to Rembrandt’s painting, simply because the Prodigal found love, acceptance, and a place to belong.

Lastly, I cherish The Return of the Prodigal Son because I am a prodigal.  The difference is that I never really returned home.  I just made visits.  Yet, my father always loved me; always accepted me; always welcomed me.

All of this comes with strange timing.  Father’s day is coming up, and I consider that I could have been a better father for my son; as my father was to me.  My father is 93, and he recently experienced a fairly serious turn for the worst in the last 48 hours.  My brothers and I are hoping for the best.  Hope is what we have.  Hope emerges from different places, different people, different stories.


Father Delayed: First Part

Been thinking about that infamous, potentially disruptive, annual, “thing” known as Father’s Day.  A bit late to acknowledge this, eh?  What was it, two weeks ago?  That’s part of it.  Something so intense comes around, and the rule is that we say what we need to say on Father’s Day …. Maybe a few days before, maybe a day afterwards.

As for me?  Father delayed, and great apologies.  Part of it is that things come up in my thinking, my experience, my memories, my disruption, and I just cannot get from “Point A” to “Point B”.  Here is an example of what I am talking about.  I saw a movie with Chris Farley in it … Maybe the film was “Black Sheep”.  Farley is lost in the woods,  probably doesn’t realize that he is on the top of a rocky incline.  He stumbles, or trips, or both, and tumbles downward over the sloped rocky ground.  There are some special effects, I suppose, as it shows this funny man with a healthy girth  in slow motion … rising up into the air, and falling back down (again in slow motion).  Facial expressions are classic: disorientation and shock.  This fall of Farley’s seems to keep going and going.  Finally, he stops.  He stands up, looks back up the mountain from where he came, hair pointing in  10 to 20 different directions. And then he speaks these words, these profound and thought-provoking words:


“What ‘the hell was that all about?”

So, yeah that was something like my experience this year for Father’s day.  Every year I struggle with the images of Father’s Day … I mean, don’t you think … Fatherhood looks quite differently across the board?

Still no grandchildren, nor any grown-up children.  So … therefore … I can’t really relate to Steve Martin and the role he plays in “Father of the Bride”.  



This is the first part of the Father Delayed series.  I’ll crank out the second part as soon as I can.  I didn’t realize how much was on my mind about being a dad, and having a dad.