Posted by: tgonzales | October 26, 2011

Some Highlights of My Daddy’s Life the Last 11 Years

First of all I want to thank everyone for all the kind comments and prayers that were sent my way. This post is going to be sad, but I have to tell my Daddy’s story to let you all know what happened and to help me remember.

Second of all I would like to explain to you all about some of the events of the last 11 years of my Daddy’s life. 11 years ago my Daddy had a heart attack in Oklahoma; they rushed him by ambulance to an Enid, Oklahoma hospital. After the doctors performed surgery to insert a stint in one of his main arteries to his heart, he suffered a stroke. I remember thinking that he wouldn’t survive the stroke, especially since he would have to relearn to talk, walk, and eat. Everything he already knew how to do he would have to relearn. Well, he learned everything except the part of his brain that controls speech was damaged and he had a hard time communicating what he was thinking. He knew the words but the connection between his brain and his mouth were short circuited. My Daddy went to speech therapy and when the therapist told him that he wouldn’t get any better he continued to go to therapy so that he could encourage other stroke and/or brain injured people not to give up. I remember hearing that one of the ladies that he had become friends with had suffered a stroke also and couldn’t talk very well. But the two of them could communicate by just looking in each other’s eyes, though neither of them spoke the words like you and I; they understood each other.

Anyway, after my Daddy had his stroke he built a horseless carriage that was powered by a lawnmower motor and it has big bicycle tires. It looks just like a horse drawn wooden carriage, only no horse; hence the horseless carriage. 🙂

He loved to take his horseless carriage and red 1946 Dodge pickup (that he restored from just the cab of a truck) to car shows and parades.

Then, 3 years ago he went to the doctor and found out that all of his main arteries to his heart were clogged and he would need to have open heart surgery. When the heart surgeon finished he had performed 7 bypasses. The doctors didn’t give him much chance of living more than a year. He somehow pulled through, but he had slowed down a lot, until last February he was tiring very easily and his lungs were filling up with fluid. That meant his heart wasn’t pumping like it should. He went back to the heart surgeon; where they found a blood clot in his main artery and they suggested that he have a pacemaker put in to help his heart pump. He recovered from that surgery and continued to push on but still tired very easily. All of us knew that his days were numbered; he would even comment to that fact and he kept wondering why he was still here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011 he drove his red 1946 Dodge pickup in the Maize Fall Festival parade. Sunday, October 16, 2011 he ate dinner with my sister and her family. My Mom said he ate a good dinner and even enjoyed eating some spicy pickles. (oh how he loved spicy food and jalapenos) My Mom always went to bed before my Dad. She doesn’t remember him coming to bed, but when she woke at 7:30 am Monday, October 17, 2011 she called his name and there was no answer. That’s when she went to check on him and she found that he had passed away in his sleep. (just like he wanted)

All the family gathered last week, my brother Terry, my sister-in-law Cathy and Ann all traveled all night to pick up my niece and her 3 daughters from Arkansas, because my Mom knew that my Dad wanted all the grandkids to be at the funeral if they could.

My Mom sent for Joshua to return home to be with us too.

My Daddy had some last wishes; he asked to be dressed in his suit (no tie). My brothers, sister and I voted on blue jeans, red plaid long sleeved shirt, suspenders, belt with silver dollar buckle, and his bolo tie. (sorry Daddy) He wanted everyone to have the opportunity to view his body, he asked that 2 songs be played; the Old Rugged Cross and Amazing Grace. Both of these were played along with a few more. He asked that if anyone wanted to stand up and talk about memories that they had of him “that would be good.”

My brothers Tom, Terry, Dean’s wife Ann, me, and Jackie stood together and talked about some memories we all had of our Daddy.

Then other family members and friends had time to speak of their memories.  No matter whether you were a stranger, relative, neighbor, or friend my Daddy was always willing to help someone in need. I remember when the song “Chain of Love” came out, my Daddy said that it was one of his favorite songs. No wonder, the words tell my Dad’s story. My Dad also wanted pictures to be shown and yes there were lots of pictures shown of my Daddy’s life. We had “Chain of Love” and “Daddy’s Hands” played while the pictures were rolling.

On Friday, October 21, 2011 my Daddy took his final ride in his red 1946 Dodge pickup driven by my brother Terry while my brother Tom rode shotgun. I just know my Daddy was smiling. 🙂


  1. Tamara, this was so sweet. I think that your Daddy would have been very proud of the way you all did his service. Even the blue jeans and all. That is the way that you all saw him in his everyday life. His last ride in his truck was very touching. What a way to make your final journey on this earth. Hugs and prayers to you and your family. Love you. Kelly

    • Kelly,

      Thank you so much for stopping by to comment. I think my Daddy would have approved. 🙂

      Love and Hugs,

  2. Thank you for sharing what was probably very difficult to write. I learned a lot about your daddy and you. A wonderful tribute to an obviously very special man was shared.

    Hugs to you and your family.

    • Hi Jeanne,

      Thank you so much for stopping by; I always look forward to reading your comments and yes my Daddy was a very special man.

      Hugs Back to you,

  3. I have tears in my eyes. He was so loved and I know you’ll miss him, as I miss mine. My dad’s birthday, the second without him is coming up in December and I was amazed to think that it was his second birthday that I can’t call and wish him happy birthday. It’s very hard on those of us that are left behind but they are in a better place. xoxoxo

    • Hi Kathy,

      I’m sorry that you lost your Dad too, but I know I will never forget him as I know you will never forget yours. Thank you so much for stopping by to comment.


  4. What a wonderful send of for your dad. I loved that he got to ride in his truck again. His health problems sound a lot like the ones my dad has had except for the stroke. Bet he is having a great time upstairs with old friends and new ones too. Be strong dear lady, you have some wonderful memories with a man who seemed to be loved very much.

    • Dear Birgitt,

      I loved that my Daddy got to ride in his truck one last time too. I hope that you are able to spend as much time with your Dad as you can? Thank you so much for stopping by to comment and yes, my Daddy is having a great time reunited with his Mom, Dad, Sister, and my brother Dean. I just know they are all building something together. 🙂


  5. The service was great, you have an awesome family and your parents had a lot of true love to share with others. I am glad that you wrote it out, he was a neat ole daddy and it was a super time to remember all that made him special!

    • Susie,

      Thank you so much for coming to the service, I know you understand how much that meant to me and it made my heart happy!

      Love you,

  6. What a beautiful tribute. I’m in tears. Blessings on you all.

    • Oh Mindy,

      Thank you so much for stopping to cry with me I bet you would never believe how many tears I cried writing it? 🙂


  7. Tamara, I’ve got tears in my eyes – so beautiful! The memories you were able to create with him and during his service will bring much peace and reassurance to you. I remember so little about my daddy’s funeral – too sudden to have prepared for it; but I remember singing “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder..” He used to rock our beds and sing us to sleep with that at the top of his voice! Just know that his spirit is always with you! Hugs!

    • Hi Cass,

      Thank you so much for stopping by to comment and I love your memory of your Daddy rocking your beds and singing “When the Roll is Called up Yonder”. What a great memory.

      Hugs & Love,

  8. Thank you, Tamara, for sharing all this with us. Your Mom will love it. I had been wondering how your Daddy passed — and was so pleased to hear he went in his sleep. We all hope to go that way, don’t we? Sounds like his last 11 years were difficult — yet SO FILLED with LOVE!!! I’d like to see a pic of his “horseless carriage” — how amazing he created that after his stroke! Ya know, we just do not “go” until it is our time … no matter *what* the doctors say.

    I’m so glad Joshua was there, along with everyone else.

    I would say your siblings & you made THE right choices for your Daddy’s clothes — definitely ‘him’!! Gosh, if anyone was able to hold back tears, I am certain the songs that were played pushed those tears right out of their eyes. I love that y’all gave him “one last ride” in his ’46 Dodge pickup. You all are an amazing family. HUGS!!! ~ Kat

    • Kat,

      Thank you so much for being here and yes, only one person knows when it’s our time to go and you know who that is! I’ll have to look up to see if I have a picture of the horseless carriage and I’ll make sure I post it as soon as I can find it.

      Love & Hugs,

  9. Tamara thank you for writing it all down! I feel much peace ! I think that is what daddy wanted. We know how hard it is to see our children in pain! Lov Jackie

    • Jackie,

      I’m so glad that you liked the post. I just had to write it all down so that we never forget what happened.

      Love you,

  10. Tamara,
    That was a great way to remember your Daddy brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Cheryl,

      I’m so glad you liked the post and I’m glad that you stopped by to comment and thanks for understanding.


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