|Daddy and Momma|
March 23, 1997
40-yr. Vow Renewal Ceremony
Brints Chapel Baptist Church
It was a chilled and frosty November morning on November 4, 1932. My Maw and Paw McDonald hadn't gotten much sleep the night prior. Maw had labored hard to give birth to a bouncing, healthy baby boy during the wee hours of the morning. That baby boy was my Daddy, Van Patterson McDonald. He always told us Maw named him after a cowboy. I was never sure just who that cowboy was, but it brought Daddy happiness to tell the story and that is all that mattered to me.
Daddy was the second of four sons born to Maw and Paw. His older brother, Troy, was born on Feb. 8, 1931 and had lived for less than 24 hours. When Maw found herself pregnant again almost exactly one year later, she was thrilled. When Daddy was born healthy, she was beyond thankful and joyful to have her child growing and happy.
By the time Daddy turned 10, Paw had bought the farm where Daddy would spend the remainder of his days. His only time away from the farm was the 2 years he was in the Army from 1953-1955. He loved the farm and farm life. It was his dream to own his own land, grow crops and animals and a family. His dream never materialized as he would have wanted, but he did live it in a small way.
A couple of years after he and Momma married, they moved in to a small 4 room house Daddy and Paw had built on the farm and they started to raise a family, cows, pigs and a couple of horses and some chickens. He didn't have crops because there was no time for crops after tending to his animals and working at his factory job. He had a large vegetable garden and a truck patch and that was enough to satisfy him.
The years passed and his family grew and came to include sons-in-love and eventually grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When Momma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and her heath began to fail, Daddy gave up everything he enjoyed to devote himself completely to caring for Momma. He sold his cows and stopped growing his vegetables when it became evident that Momma needed him to be by her side almost 24 hours a day.
He was completely devoted to Momma and rarely left her side. His own health began to decline, but he remained vigilant at Mommas side. He let us come in and help with household chores and drive Momma to her doctor's appointments. I don't think we really understood then why he did that. We came to understand that those times were the only time he had to restore himself and have time for a break.
When Momma went home to be with Jesus in April, 2006, Daddy was devastated. He stayed at their home for the remainder of that year, but became sicker with each passing month. His doctor became concerned that he would die soon if he didn't find a way to overcome the grief. He moved from their home to live with my middle sister and her family for about the next year.
My youngest sister and her husband bought the family farm in 2008 and Daddy moved back to the house to live with them. They both had health issues and he would spend time with my other sister while health issues were attended to. I was living with my mother-in-love and then was taking care of my terminally ill husband. My husband went home to be with Jesus in January, 2009. For the first year, I was in no shape to care for myself, much less anyone else.
In March, 2010, I finally came back to my own home to live. Daddy came to live with me in June, 2010 and remained with me until the morning he went to be with Jesus on Sept. 20, 2011. It was my joy to take care of him and have him with me for those last 15 months of his life. I will be forever thankful to have had the opportunity to give back to him a small portion of the caring he had given me since the day of my birth.
So, today Daddy would have been 79. What joy to know he now walks the streets of heaven with our Lord, Momma and our baby sister, as well as other loved ones who have already gone home with the Lord.
Happy Birthday in Heaven Daddy. I love you so much more than I ever realized while you were here with me. I am so thankful God made you my Daddy and for the love you gave me all the days of your life after I came into it. I am thankful you are at rest and no longer sick and suffering. You are now eternally well and at peace. Praise the Lord!