During the last few months when dad was confined to a hospital bed, he wrote dictated letters to former bible students. One man in particular came on Tuesdays, so dad could study with him. Dad would whisper with his labored breathing, and I would repeat loud so the hard of hearing man could understand dad. Dad told him: “I can’t figure out why I am still alive.” He then told him he believed Jehovah had some more work for him to do with two people in particular, and he was one of them. I thanked my dad for including me in his witnessing because I missed witnessing in English. He grinned and said “I have been sneaky!” He had planned that man to come on the days I would be there, so I could enjoy witnessing in English with my dad. I have been a Sign Language Interpreter for years, but the most special interpreting I will always remember is when I interpreted my dad’s English into louder English. My brother Jeff substituted for me one Tuesday when I was sick, and he said it was like getting a taste of how Jesus must have felt being the Word for his father.
When he had his stroke and was at Wake Med in the rehab area, one morning I showed up just as they were wheeling him in from their speech therapy session. When I asked the therapist how he did she said: “well it takes time”. She was visibly not excited, and I realized dad didn’t do too good during that session, so I asked for more details about what they tried to do. She said well we try to use things they have memorized to open up their mind, and today we were singing happy birthday. I laughed and turned to dad and said: “Dad you didn’t want to sing happy birthday right?” He excitedly waved his arms shaking his head no. I had to explain to the nurse about birthdays. That night we got out his bible and started reading his favorite scriptures he had memorized, and watched his excitement as he began pronouncing the words. It was the scriptures in his mind that was the key to opening those speaking areas of his brain. From then on he made rapid progress. And we all know he gained all his speech back.
During the last few years I had the opportunity to take dad to Hillsborough for treatments. Everyone there loved him. He always had some funny stories to tell. And of course, he would leave literature there too.
One brother told me he was away from Jehovah’s Witnesses for about 40 years and ended up in the hospital. When he woke up dad was standing at his bedside. Dad would visit everyone in the hospital who had put down Jehovah’s Witnesses as their religion, but dad did not recognize him. He told dad he had been away for 40 years and was disfellowshipped. Dad had one question for him: “Did he want to come back.” The man said no. Dad respectfully left. But before the elevator door opened that sick man had gotten to the elevator to tell dad he had changed his mind. He is thankful dad visited him and got him started back on his way to Jehovah.
Another brother told me that dad studied with him in prison and he got out and got involved with the wrong crowd and ended up stabbed many times and was in the hospital. Of course, dad showed up there and encouraged him and he is now one of Jehovah’s Witnesses too. He said dad never gave up on him.
I was beside dad when he got the news about a prisoner he had studied with for years in the jail and then prison, named Corey. Harvey Jacobs gave him the news that he was approved as an unbaptized publisher. I did not get my camera fast enough to record my dad jump in the bed with his arms in the air in excitement. But it is recorded in my mind.