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My 'To God Be the Glory' Story concerning My Dad

My Dad was born Janurary 1, 1919 in Livermore, Kentucky. He was the middle of three boys.  They had a very hard upbringing with very little stability during the first ten years of his life.  Then in 1929, the Depression hit.  My Dad said, "No one had any money."

He graduated from Livermore High School in 1939.  After his graduation, he looked for work in many different places, from the Detroit Ford Auto plant in Michigan to selling newspapers to trying to get a job on the on the tug boat systems of the Mississippi River.  "No luck at any of these jobs." He said.

In 1942, my Dad and a friend went to Owensboro, Ky to take a civil service test to go to radio school.  They were paid $50 a month.  Great money at that time.  After completion of this course, he was transferred to Lexington, Kentucky Radio School, in Lexington.  In November 1942, he finished civil service radio school.  Later,  he received orders from the army to report to Columbus, Ohio on December 18, 1942.  On this day, he was put on actual duty in the Army Signal Corps.  A week later, he was transferred to Camp Crowder, Missouri.  After basic training, he went through more Radio School.  After completetion, he was assigned to the 189th Signal Company.  In November, his company got orders to go to England.  July 1944, his company went to France.  They were stationed several different places in France, Paris included.

His responsibility was to make sure the communications between those on the front line were up and running so they could communicate with those behind the lines for supplies and other needs.  He was right behind Gen. Patton during this time. He spent 27 months in Europe during WW II.

 After the war, he worked at the Lexington Army Depot as an inspector of the Signal equipment that was headed to the Korean War and later on Vietnam.  He was called, "Reject Reed" by those working under him.  His last name was Reed.  He told my Mom that he was not going to be responsible for the death of any of our soldiers because of failed signal equipment.  Good for him.

My Dad learned that getting the task done was the way to succcess.  He was a "Task-oriented Perfectionist".  The task was more important than any person or the feelings of others.  Doing a good job meant success, money in your pocket and food on the table.

As a result, I grew up being very fearful of my Dad.  He was a yeller and our house was very loud.  I don't remember him hitting us.  We never yelled back.  My report cards every six weeks from the first grade through the fifth grade always had the comment, "Joyce seems so nervous, Joyce seems so nervous." 

Looking back, I think in his own way, Dad loved us.  I was the oldest of the five (later there were 6) of us and therefore, the bravest.  Often, he would bring home candy in his lunch box for us.  One day, he was walking toward the house down our driveway and I remember running up to him, yanking the lunch box out of his hand so I could look in it to see if he had brought home any candy for us.  There was a container with five pieces of candy in it.   I would never have asked him for the lunchbox because I was too afraid of him.

I praise the Lord that my Dad and Mom took us to the Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky.  I was on the Cradle Roll there and very active for 21 years until I was married in that church.  My Dad and Mom were very active members.  Dad was a deacon.  He filled communion cups, took pictures of new members, and always went to a men's Sunday School Class.  We were at church almost all day every Sunday. We attended Junior and Senior choir practice, Training Union, church service and got home about 9:00pm.  This was after singing in the early church choir and attending Sunday School in the morning. 

When I was a teenager,  I asked my Mom if she thought my Dad was saved. She said, "Oh, he's okay."  I was not convinced.  At home, I saw very little fruit of the Spirit.

Fast forward to 2017.  My Dad is now 98 years old and gradually dying.  In December of 2016,  he contracted Shingles.  This really took the "wind out of his sails", and he began to decline physically. 

In February, I went for my visit to Lexington, Ky to spend time with them. I always went this time of year because both my Mom and Dad have birthdays in January.  I actually go three or four times a year.  I have lived near Austin, Texas for 40 years.

Early Saturday morning, February 18, my Dad got out of  bed and fell on his way to his recliner in the living room.   He called for my Mom and she called 911 because she could not get him up.  She is 94 years old now. 

The paramedics looked him over. My Dad said he was okay so they put him in his recliner and left.  At about noon time, he needed to go to the restroom.  We helped him stand but discovered that he could not walk.  I said, "You can't walk can you?"  He shook his head and we gently sat him back in the recliner and called 911 again.  The very same paramedics who put him in his recliner now were taking him to the emergency room. 

He was admitted but after 3 days he was put on Pallative Care.  After about 9 days in the hospital, it was decided he should be put on Hospice care at home.  He came home on Tuesday, February 27 at 3:00 in the afternoon.  Hospice had provided a hospital bed for him.  He was not eating or drinking by this time.  He only wanted apple juice which I gave him from a teaspoon because he could handle that.  If I gave it to him through a straw, he would aspirate and cough uncontrollably.  As weak as he was, he did not need that.  The Hopice Nurse had given us small amouts of morphine to give him if he got agitated.  We did not have to give it to him very often. 

That evening, I was standing by his bed just being with him and wanting to meet his needs, when all of a sudden I had this deep dread that, "this man may not be too far from hell".   It really scared me, like a stab in my heart.  I said to myself, "We don't want him in hell. We don't want him in the Lake of  Fire."  I stood there deeply concerned.  Then I found myself saying quietly, "Make sure he belongs to You.  Make sure he belongs to You."

I asked him if he wanted more apple juice and he said, "Yes, apple juice."  He was still coherent. 

I stayed all night Tuesday night with them.  We, the children,  took turns staying with them because we did not want my Mom there alone with him in case he needed something.  I did not sleep at all, and I was prepared for that because he coughed a lot.  I was there to help.  I stayed the next day also.  I had been up for about 36 hours.  That evening late, I went to my aunt's house to sleep.  The next morning I went back to my Dad and Mom's home ( an independent living complex) to be with them and to help. 

Soon after arriving, we heard my Dad say, "Help me!  Help me!"  We thought he was in pain.  Then we heard him say, "Help me, help me Lord, 'cause I can't help myself."   He said it several times,  then he would rest and then say it again.  He also said, " Help me Lord, in my soul."  As he said this over and over, I said to my Mom, "Mom, I think he's singing!"  There were different pitches.  My Mom thought he was singing the hymn, "It is Well With My Soul" so we started singing with him.  All day he sang.  He would rest for about 15 minutes and then sing again.  We kept singing with him.  "In my soul!! In my soul!"  Then we would sing, "It is well, it is well with my soul." 

Then I was reminded of Psalm 100. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands, serve the Lord with gladness,  COME BEFORE HIS PRESENCE WITH SINGING!"  I was sure my Dad was entering into our Lord's presence with singing.  

We sang with him for two days.  We also sang, "There is Power in the Blood."  

 We would ask him if he wanted apple juice and he would say, "Yes, apple juice." 

My cousin from Atlanta came into his room and said, 'Hi, Uncle Reed." and he responded, 'Hi, Wilma."  He was coherent. 

There was a great peace that came over my Mom and I.  What had God done? He had graciously given us a gift.  He provided the gift of knowing that our Dad and my Mom's husband was going to be with the Lord.  What a gift! What a peace! What a blessed peace He gave us and our family.  Thank you for this Father God!! In the name of Jesus.

On Saturday, I stayed all day again.  That is where I wanted to be.  I stayed until the nurse we hired came at 10:30 pm.  We changed my Dad's Depends and rolled him so he would not get bed sores.  I said goodbye to them and said I would see them in the morning.  I again went to my aunt's house. 

My brother called me about 4:15 Sunday morning to tell me that my Dad took his last breath at about 4:00. 

Now I can say with grateful tears, " It is well with my soul!"

Thank you Lord for such a gift.

Joyce Reed Davis, oldest daughter of Cornelius Alvin Reed and Thelma McCray Reed - March 2017