Tag Archive: Dad

Missing Dad


Dad holding me 1961

Today would have been Dad’s 88th birthday. I thought I would be OK and brave it out on this first birthday without him, but that just didn’t happen. Everywhere around I see reminders, and it’s hit me harder than I would have thought.

I thought holidays would be bad – the first Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc. While we did miss him on those events, this is worse. Those holidays we have family and friends around to distract, and the emphasis is on other things. A birthday is focused on the individual, which makes their absence even more poignant.

Viewing the D. R. Hill materials yesterday didn’t help one bit. The old photos of schools reminded me of my father’s long career in education. It seemed like he was there at every turn.

Then there was Facebook this morning. The ubiquitous reminder popped up cheerfully stating that today is Houston Taylor’s birthday and reminding me to write on his wall. Several had already done that on his timeline. While I’m glad they have done that, it just made me feel weird, and I couldn’t do it. Writing here doesn’t have the same effect because this is my personal space.

I’ll make it through the day, and there will be plenty of distractions at work to keep me occupied, but I’m sure it will still sneak up on me when I least expect it. Tomorrow I’ll get to see my mother, brothers and sisters and I’m sure there will be a time of remembrance then, too.

So, Happy Birthday, Dad. Wish you were here with us to go on another of those infamous rambling explorations. We miss you.

Many Thanks


It seems ridiculous to say that this has been a tough week. It most certainly has. Even having time to prepare, Dad’s passing was not easy for us, and his funeral on Saturday, while a celebration of his life and knowing he is now in a better place, was emotionally draining.

The week began with the death of one of my Furman friends, Bruce Gentry. He had a heart attack at the much-too-young age of 53. He was a fantastic actor and singer, and despite butting heads occasionally, I always enjoyed performing with him. He was a caring, unique person, and will be missed. Also during the week we lost one of our four cats to traffic, and found out another only has a limited time left to us. These last two seem trivial in the grand scope of things, but it was tragedy compounded given everything else that’s going on.

I don’t think I could have held up emotionally without the help of many friends and relatives. There are lots of people I would like to thank. Thanks to Denise, Pam, and everyone else at White Oak Manor. Their staff went above and beyond to make sure Dad and the family were comfortable during his last days. Their strength and patience in working with us, in addition to their many other charges, just blows my mind. Theirs is a job I don’t think I have the strength to do. Thanks also to Doggett and Erin Whitaker of Whitaker Mortuary for putting us at ease and helping with the funeral arrangements. Erin especially stayed with us on Saturday to make sure we were OK, and that we had everything we needed. Thanks to Rev. Mike Turner of Wightman for the beautiful service, and support for our family.

My thanks to all my friends in Spartanburg Five. Thanks to Greg Wood for letting me take the time off I needed, and to Ginger Waters and the rest of the tech team for covering for me while I was away. My thanks for the cards, flowers, and many thoughts and prayers, and for those of you who took time from your busy weekends to be with us. Thanks to the many other friends and relatives who shared their sympathies with us on Saturday and throughout the week.

Thanks to all of my family – my mother, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews – all of us were able to support each other in this time of shared grief. The singing and many stories we shared were great. We shared lots of laughs (some probably inappropriate), and my brothers and I were even able to sneak off and raise a toast to our father. I wouldn’t trade my huge family for any in the world.

Thanks to two of my best friends, Dwight and Alan, who missed a stellar Furman victory over Appalachian State to attend the funeral. I especially appreciate the time of fellowship and respite from my huge family you gave after the service.

My greatest thanks to Laura, without whom I would have collapsed into disaster long, long ago. She kept our household together while I ran back and forth to Newberry, work and a thousand other things. This she did while dealing with her own busy work schedule and family matters.

And finally, my thanks to my father, for the life of integrity and strength he led, and the example he was for all of us.

I have now witnessed the passing of three family members – Laura’s father nearly 20 years ago, our brother-in-law Eddie last year, and now Dad. Each time it was not unexpected, but the finality of death was so striking. It’s never easy. The past couple of days the simplest things have brought near-emotional collapse. For example, I was in a grocery store today and saw a bag of small new potatoes. Memories of digging potatoes with my dad came flooding through me, and I had to stop. I’m afraid this is going to keep happening for awhile.

The emotions have been conflicting. As I grieve, I think about others who have had loved ones die. Death comes to all, and no family is immune from its ravages. So why should I be so special and receive this amazing love and support? I even catch myself feeling guilty for grieving. I know it’s irrational. I just hope that I can be as supportive when others need me.

So, I’ll start back to work tomorrow. I’ll even try to make it to Chorale rehearsal in the evening. I’ll check in with my mom to make sure she’s OK, and try to spend some time with her. I’m hoping to even get away for a much-needed paddling trip. Life may get back to normal, but it will never be the same.

UPDATE: Our cat, IC, who we thought we had lost, came home today. A neighbor had reported that the cat had been killed by a car, but when she went out to get the body, it was gone, possibly taken by a dog or coyote. IC hadn’t been home for several days, and he fit the neighbor’s description. We assumed the worst. I needed a bit of good news this morning.

Goodbye, Dad


Houston D Taylor 2011 cropped 8X10

I almost didn’t write this post.  I wasn’t sure I could bring myself to do it.  However, I’ve used this blog to document major events in the life of my family, as well as the community at large, so I shouldn’t shy away from this one, either.

My father, Houston David Taylor, Sr., passed away Wednesday morning.  He had been battling congestive heart failure for the past year, and in the last few weeks it had gotten progressively worse.  The last couple of weeks were very trying on both my father and the family, but in the end he passed peacefully with all of us gathered at his side.

Dad was 87.  He was born in 1924 in Laurens County, the son of Oscar E. Taylor and Mamie Leapard Taylor.  Dad was the youngest son in a family of seven – the same spot I occupy in our family.  He served in the Navy assigned to a Merchant Marine tanker, the S. S. Spotsylvania, where he served as a signal man.  He served in both Europe and the Pacific.  He was a teacher, school principal, and a district administrator.  He was also a minister, first in the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and later in the United Methodist Church.

There are a thousand memories and feelings to process right now, none of which can be done justice within a simple blog post.  So, rather than short-change the life of a great man, let me just say, we’ll miss you Dad.  Thanks for everything you’ve done for us.  We love you, and hope to be with you again some day.

Taylors Christmas 2006

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