A Matter of Life and Death

We all die. Life is a terminal illness. Everyone will die and we are not in control of when that will happen, in most cases. “Life is the most comprehensive danger of all”. (Dr. John MacArthur, 2020)

If you are a Christian and have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior then death means something completely different. In death, as a Christian, we have hope and we know that we will be with our Savior once death greets us.

I was just a little boy, around 8 or 9 when my first grandparent passed away. Emary Franklin Bryant Sr. He was in his early 60’s when he died of a massive heart attack. He was taken way too early and way too fast. I never really got to know him but his legacy continues even today. I proudly carry his name in full and my son carries his first and last name. I’m proud of my namesake and it’s history and heritage. I didn’t lose another grandparent until April 2011 during the massive tornado outbreak. It was a turbulent time. Dealing with hospital visits between storms and getting called into work.

Between Thanksgiving 2019 and Christmas that same year, my mother in law went to the doctor because she lost her voice and had a cold. She was diagnosed with lung cancer. That cancer spread so rapidly that she never got a chance to have her first treatment and on 21 March 2020, she died in her home.

At the same time, my other grandfather, William Hoyt Ownby, was battling his own health issues. He had fallen a few weeks ago and had hip surgery. He was almost mobile when he had a stroke and went back into the hospital. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) in full swing, the family was limited on the ability to visit him in the hospital. Last night he was moved to a Hospice Center and placed on comfort care. As my daughter and I entered his room to see him, for what may be the last time, he was sleeping peacefully. While I am sad that he is close to leaving this world, I’m joyful because of the hope we have in Jesus. I know, as sure as I am sitting here typing this, that I will see him again someday.

I recall running around his garage as a little boy. I remember overhearing him talking to someone and, being a Korean War Veteran, he said that he believed every young man should serve their country. I never forgot those words and next month, I will celebrate 21 years of being in the U.S. Navy. Before I left for boot camp, he and I sat in a wooden swing in his front yard and he assured me I was making the right decision. His only advice was to get everything I could. I’m proud to say that he was able to pin on my Anchors when I made Chief in 2013 and I’ve since made Senior Chief. I hope I’ve fulfilled his charge.

Death is certain. It is the only certain thing in this life. Be kind to one another. Be humble and realize that tomorrow is not promised and neither is our next breath.

A Fathers Love

*Disclaimer: the names have been changed to protect the innocent.*

I witnessed one of the most touching acts a father should never have to be a part of the other morning.

My shift was just about to end when myself and my zone partner were dispatched to a wreck with injuries and entrapment.  The crash was less than a mile from my current location and within a couple of minutes I was pulling up to one of the most complex vehicle crashes I have seen in my short five year law enforcement career.

What I saw as i pulled up was a mid-sized vehicle on its side, but what made this more interesting is that the vehicle was wrapped around a tree.  The resting position of the vehicle was causing the driver to be unable to get out of the vehicle.

As I ran around the side of the car to assess the damage and to get some patient information I was met by a gentleman in a button-down shirt.  The passerby began giving me some patient information and then crawled back into the car as far as he could to talk to the driver and assure him that help was on the way.

As time progressed I learned that the passerby was not just any citizen who happened to stop to render aid; he was the drivers father.  The dad never once broke a tear yet the love for his son was apparent.  He never left his son’s side until forced to do so by the Rescue workers.

The most memorable part of this scene and the part that will stick with me forever is when I heard the father and his son pray the sinners prayer as the young driver accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

From what I have gathered, the driver survived.  I’m not sure about the extent of the injuries and honestly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing those here anyway.

Two fathers were at work on this particular morning.  The drivers earthly father saved his son’s life by giving a few breaths to revive him and our Godly father worked a miracle by placing his earthly father on the scene and then entering his heart when he prayed the prayer that will now ensure his eternal salvation.