The Doc Is In

So my parents went out-of-town and we kept their cat Simon for them.  Simon is a Siamese (which means he is very vocal, independent and snobby) and VERY much my dad’s cat.  We weren’t sure how he would do over here and away from his home (and my dad), but the house we bought was my parents so he lived here for about 8 years before moving to their condo. As most anyone knows Dennis is NOT a cat person.  He tolerates our outside cat Cecil but is not a fan of felines.  He is very much a dog person.  But, he was gracious and said we could keep Simon.  When my mom and dad came home last week, it was mainly for mom to be here at our house keeping Hannah so that I could be with Dennis at the viewing and funeral for his dad since there was no way we could take Hannah.  Simon was still here and on Wednesday mom took a ton of pictures of Hannah playing doctor with Simon.  Simon has never been a fan of Hannah’s so this was quite a miracle in itself but mom said that Hannah was so gentle and sweet “doctoring” Simon.  I thought it would be a fun blog post to show you Doctor Hannah and her feline patient Simon……

 

After doctoring Simon Hannah insisted Simon needed a nap and so she laid down with him to put him to sleep.  Simon is not the most patient, kid-friendly cat.  He usually sees Hannah and takes off in the other direction.  But, while we had him for that week I think he and Hannah kinda bonded.  It was a sweet time with him and it made me miss having an indoor cat.  At least I got to cat sit for a week….maybe one day Dennis will cave and let me have an inside cat……I mean miracles happen every day, right?  HA!

Until next time………

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A Life Well Lived

I have literally sat down several times over the last week to write this particular blog post.  I have written, deleted, written, deleted, etc.  How do you write about a man, who was your husbands’ best friend, dad and hero all wrapped up into one?  How do you write about him and even come close to honoring him in a way in which he was worthy?  Then it dawned on me…..let Dennis write it.  So here, in my husband’s own words you can hear about his dad, his best friend, his hero…..the man who raised him and taught him everything about being a man, a husband and a father.  I owe my father-in-law (Papa as I always referred to him) everything because he taught my husband not only by words, but by action and deeds.  With Dennis’ permission, I am sharing with you what he shared at his dad’s funeral last Wednesday.  I did take the liberty to re-word a few things and cut some things out (to shorten it as he spoke for nearly 20 minutes)….but I felt it important to honor my father-in-law in this way…..I love you Papa…..until we meet again. Thank you for teaching Dennis everything he knows.  He loves me unconditionally, he respects me, he honors me and he provides for me and I know it is because he was taught well!  For that and so much more, I will be eternally grateful.

Ervin Wayne Blankinchip January 26, 1936-May 2, 2018

Dennis’ words:

On January 25th of this year, the day before dad’s birthday; my sister Donna shared with me a conversation she and dad had.  She asked Dad, “when that day comes is there anyone special you want to preach your service?”  Dad’s words were, “I would like for my son to do it.  Remember how Tim Cochran did that at his dad’s funeral?  That is what I would like, if Dennis thinks he can do it.”  What an honor!  You see though, neither Dr. Messer nor I will be preaching dad’s funeral.  Dad preached it every day of his life.  You see that dash up above between his birthdate and the date of his death?  That dash…..it was the life my dad lived; a life well lived that now is our legacy.

Dad instilled in his kids honor, respect, morals, values, integrity and character.  He taught us the value of a dollar and he taught us about love.  Dad taught me everything…..how to be a man, Christian, brother, husband, father, friend and employee.  He taught me how to hunt, fish and drive a car.  However, the one thing dad did not teach me was how to go through his passing.  I do remember what my dad told me though….in difficult times look to Jesus, He is where you will find a peace that passes all understanding and He alone will carry you through.

He was born in Citronelle, Alabama.  He was the oldest of 3 kids.  He graduated from Citronelle High School, joined the Navy, got married in 1958.  He re-enlisted in the Army National Guard and was activated during the Berlin Crisis.  He was hired by Volkswagen of America in 1962 and retired in 1992. He also, during those years at Volkswagen, went into business together with friends forming Florida Maintenance Company.  Dad felt a calling in his life to serve, so he became a reserve police officer in 1981.  It was during that time as a 9-10 year old boy that I began to hear my calling to go into law enforcement.  For 34 years dad dedicated himself to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reserves. He worked his way up as Captain and then to eventually take over the reserve program in 1996 until he retired for good in 2015.

Wednesday after dad’s passing, Donna told me to take dad’s Bible and search to see if I could find something in there like a favorite verse of his.  When I got home I opened the Bible and it opened to Proverbs 22.  Proverbs 22:6 states “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  You see, dad knew the primary responsibility for training children is placed squarely upon the shoulders of the parents.  No one else.  Dad introduced us kids to drugs at an early age.  Now before my JSO family starts to fill out paperwork to get me tested, let me finish.  Dad drug us to family suppers, dad drug us to family reunions, dad drug us to church and dad drug us to anything he felt would be beneficial to his kids.  You see dad had read the Bible; specifically Proverbs 22:6.

As a boy, I would watch dad cut the grass and at times I would follow behind him pushing my little plastic mower. I remember one year opening a birthday present and seeing a 410 shotgun. Sitting on a ditch line in Mississippi hunting with my dad and seeing a doe and two yearlings across the road and dad saying “don’t shoot, no horns.” I used to think my dad was so strong, as he would pick up a 25 hp Johnson outboard motor from the shed to the car and then we would rent a boat at doctors inlet and go fishing. He spent time teaching me and training me in many ways.

I remember as a 7-year-old boy asking dad about being born again as I heard our preacher preaching about it. Dad opened his bible and read the following verses:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:10 As it is written there is none righteous, no not one.

Romans 5:8 But God commandeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart of man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

A plan so simple a 7-year-old understood and it was at that time I asked Jesus to live in my heart.

As I reflect back to my growing up the one thing that stands out most about my dad is his work ethic. I remember my dad working two jobs, Volkswagen during the day and Florida maintenance in the evenings. I can remember riding home with him from church on Wednesday nights as he would usually have to make a couple of stops to check up on how well his workers cleaned.  Sometimes the workers would not do a good enough job and he would have to clean to make it right. Now on top of working all week and some nights and weekends, dad always worked in his yard and tended to his plants. Now, if that wasn’t enough to do in 1981 he joined the police reserves and began to work even more. I must say that when the officers came to the house to pick him up, it was special to see your dad in uniform, getting in a police car to go serve and protect.  Then it was always neat to listen as he told stories of how he hid in a freezer doing a stake out, so the seed was planted in me.

Going back to my junior and high school days, I remember dad teaching me the basis of football from Junior High to High School. I really didn’t think dad knew a lot about football at that time.  Of course when you realize that when he played they didn’t have facemasks and when you tackled someone you had to physically sit or lay on them so they would not get up and continue running; maybe you should listen! He attended all my games and what’s funny, for those who have played sports, you really don’t pay attention to the band or crowd noise as you are so focused on playing the game; yet I could hear my dad yelling “come on defense!” You see, I played middle linebacker and he would always coach us up from the sidelines.

Dad encouraged me to pursue my goal to be an officer and even got me to join the reserves to make sure it was my calling. In 1989 I began the reserve academy and I remember him taking me to my first day of the academy. He introduced me to some guys who called him by name and we all shook hands, but I had no clue who they were. Eventually I learned who those guys were; Vernon O’Quinn, Charlie Pearson, and Tom Voutour (legends with JSO).

Police work was now in my blood and in 1994 when I was hired I was honored to have my dad pin my badge on me. Fast forward 24 years and I see so much of my dad in me; just look at some of these pictures and you will know what I will look like in 35 years! I remember when I was on the street, dad would work baseball games at Terry Parker and former Undersheriff Mackesy, who was a Chief at the time, would be there too, as his son was playing ball. I would always try to swing by and check on him. After several visits during the season, Mackesy kept wanting to know why the marked police car was there, fearing there was a problem. Dad said, “it’s my boy just checking on me” to which Mackesy said something to the effect “I hope my boy will love me enough to come and check on me one day.” Dad said, “you have to train them.” Remember the Proverbs verse? Some people tell me that I work too much and I can’t sit still, but as you have heard it’s just in my genes!

You may have known my dad as papa, Wayne, B, Mr. B. Mr. Blankinchip, or Captain, but I knew him as my Hero!

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t say a few words of thanks:

  • To my sister Donna as she literally gave up her life to help care for my parents and for that I am will be eternally grateful!
  • To Lynda, who lives so far away yet made every attempt to get here when she could.

They are true examples of Ephesians 6:1-4
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.  And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

  • To Eddie: the brother I never had and who did so many things for my dad that a son-in-law should never have to do!
  • To Ben who made me cry with the following message: I’m given perfect peace knowing Wayne left this world a rich man. He left with the Spirit of God. As a born again child of God, Wayne left this world secure in every promise God’s Word makes to his children. Wayne left with a legacy of three God-fearing children one which became my wife so he left with my gratitude. And he left with our hearts until were reunited in Glory.
  • To my wife Tamara, for supporting me and for loving my family!

And lastly, to my mom for teaching and showing us how to love and respect your spouse. She is a virtuous woman, Proverbs 31:28-31
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.  Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman who feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Dad,
Thank you!!!  We are not perfect, but you taught us well.  If I can be half the man you were, I can call myself successful.  I used to get on to dad and tell him to go on vacations and see sights he has never seen before.  His response would always be, “if I did that I wouldn’t leave y’all any money.”  I would always respond that I didn’t want his money.  I stand here before you today and say my inheritance is more than any denomination of currency.
Proverbs 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. You taught us well.

I honestly believe Wednesday afternoon dad heard the words of Matthew 25:21  His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. AND HE WALKED IN! If dad were here I believe he would say don’t miss heaven by a few inches, it’s not about knowing God it’s about a relationship with God.

Picture courtesy of David Stevens, retired JSO

 

My husband, a man who has honored his father his whole life and continues to. What a legacy Papa left him to follow. I am blessed to be his wife.

 

Dad loved his family and we love and miss him immensely (Hannah was not with us at the funeral due to her immune system but she loved her Papa and he loved her).

 

Papa and Dennis….best friends, father/son and I believe each other’s hero!

 

Papa meeting Hannah for the first time……

 

LOVE

Until next time………

Mother’s Day = Hard Day

Mother’s Day…..a day of celebration for many and a day of heartache for others.  For me, even though I am a mom it is a very hard day for me.  You might sit there and not understand how I feel because this is supposed to be a day for me.  Most people hurting on this day are because they cannot be a mom for one reason or another or have maybe lost their mom; so my heartache seems odd.  I don’t expect anyone to understand, but today my heart just aches.

Of course it didn’t help that Hannah woke up in tears for no reason and still even over an hour later cannot go potty (dang autonomic dysfunction).  We have both cried our eyes out this morning and it is only 8:45am and I am just ready for this stupid day to be over.  “Hallmark days,” that is what my friend Adrienne calls them and she isn’t a fan either for good reason.  I just want to crawl back in bed, pull the covers over my head and wake up in the morning.  Of course, I cannot do that.

I know so many people who have amazing kids.  They can make their mom feel special today and I think that is amazing.  In my world, motherhood and life is extremely LONELY.  Yes, I am lonely.  In our little world here where I am pretty much confined to our home 24/7 (except to go to the doctor or run errands) it is a lonely existence.  Hannah and I don’t have “conversations.”  The days consist of the same routine, the same food, and the same repetitive language.  I have learned that the best conversation I have during the day is when I talk to myself….HA!  Sad but true.  Days like Mother’s Day remind me that yes, I am a mother and I am thankful for that and for the little girl who God blessed me with; but it is hard…..day in and day out……it is hard and lonely.  Today, I am just extremely sad.  I knew I would be and as much as I told myself that it is only one day and I needed to “choose joy” (I hate that phrase); I am struggling.

I know a lot of people are struggling today because for one reason or another they can’t have children.  I cannot imagine how hard today is for them.  I can’t say I understand at all; but I do understand grief, loneliness, sadness and tears that you can’t stop from falling.  Our circumstances are completely different but our heartache in some way is the same.  For me, the longing for that mother/daughter relationship will never be.  The longing for real conversation, doing fun things together (hell, just getting out of the dang house) doesn’t seem like that will ever happen, watching her flourish into a strong, beautiful, independent, smart young lady who goes on to college, gets married, has her own family is never going to happen.  Not to mention the plethora of health issues she has had her entire life (almost 13 years).  All of that piles up in my heart and on days like today explodes into heartache, tears and grief.

So, even though my heartache is different from so many on this day, it is very real.  I haven’t blogged in a long time.  I actually have another blog post written that I need to publish but maybe I will do that tomorrow.  We have learned more about things going on with Hannah lately too; so with the death of Dennis’ dad, the health issues with Hannah and today being a “hallmark” day……well, I am just plain sad.

For all of you out there who are celebrating today and have reason to I am so happy for you, please know that…..Happy Mother’s Day.  I know some amazing moms!  For those who are grieving today for reasons I cannot fathom, I am so sorry and I wish I could do or say something to make it better.  For my other Special Needs mama’s out there who may or may not feel the way I do I adore you all and think each and everyone of you are amazing.  God bless each of you.

I can’t end this without a shout-out to my amazing mom……thank you for always being there, for loving me even when I am unlovable and for being the best Mimi on the planet.  We adore and love you.  To my precious mother-in-law who is the epitome of strength at a very difficult time.  I know that life is really hard but I stand amazed at your strength and your love for your family.  I am blessed to call you my mother-in-law.

Hannah, my mom and me

 

My mother-in-law and Hannah from a few years ago.

 

The little girl who made me a mom nearly 13 years ago.

 

My all-time favorite pic of us.

 

Until next time…….