Baba means “daddy” in zulu.  I am blessed beyond measure to have a wonderful baba.  I know that many people cannot say that.  Recently I heard a talk about fathers in which statistics were cited that made me shudder.  More than half of all children grow up with an absent father – either physically or emotionally.  Having a dad that believed in me, lauded my efforts as I grew up, bragged about me, loved me, supported me, and cheered me on…  not sure I will ever fully grasp how important that was in my life.

This blog is to honor you, Daddy.  To publicly thank you for being such a loving father, who truly tried his best despite formidable barriers and trials.

My dad was a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor for the past 41 years.  He loves God and loved his work.  Mom and Dad both sacrificed to be able to put us kids into private, Christian education our entire schooling – even university.    I am so blessed to have them as parents.  They were not perfect… even as I am not a perfect parent now.  And I think becoming a parent has helped me understand them all the more, and become even more grateful for the impact they have had on my life!

My dad has not had an easy road with his health.  He was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer when I was about 10 years old. Memories of my childhood included things like this:

making banners to welcome him home from the hospital

giving him hot and cold fomentations on his chest as he battled pneumonias

mom speeding home post-chemo in an attempt to arrive before Dad started getting sick

changing the dressing on his infected portacath site

visiting him in various hospitals

I used to worry that he wouldn’t be there to walk me down the aisle or greet his first grandchild.

But I also have lots of other more “normal” memories of growing up with my dad at my side.

  • Dad singing “This old house is to my children, this old house is to my wife.”
  • laughing at all of dad’s impersonations 
  • lots of great camping trips 
  • driving to Grandma’s for Christmases
  • doing doughnuts in icy church parking lots
  • tickle fights

God has blessed us and him with full, life-giving years!  Dad is now 68 years old.   He has gotten to marry all of his children off! 😉  And get to know all of his grandchildren!  We are so very grateful to God for the time we have had with Dad.  Time we weren’t sure would be ours.

Dad is now fighting again.  For the past couple of years, he has been in a battle for his health.  The chemotherapy he took when I was a child has given him long-term heart problems, so he has a very weak heart.  And presently, he has 3 different type of cancers.  The initial one (which they think has caused the other two), and then one in his stomach and most recently, one in his colon.  He had a surgery about 6 weeks ago (for which I went home to be with him) to have part of his cancerous colon removed.  And has had some ups and downs since then.

He was hospitalized again on Friday for a very low BP (55/37) and dehydration.  It is hard to not get down when this is the time he was looking forward to – retirement.  He retired September 1, and was diagnosed with colon cancer about a month later.  He is trying so hard to be positive and upbeat, but the four walls of a hospital room seem to close in on you sometimes.

Dad, I love you so much.  I am so grateful that God gave me to you and you to me.  My life has been richer to have you as my father.  Neither of us perfect, but we have Jesus for that!  Thank you for persevering through hardship and for teaching us kids how to hold on to what God has promised us.

I love our daily FaceTime chats!  Best we can do with this silly ocean that separates us!

I pray we have many more years together.  I know God’s plans are perfect and we trust His gracious hand.

The love of a father is a gift that I hold very precious as I have seen what happens when children do not receive that love.  Thank you Dad for your love!  Even with that weak heart of yours, you love so well!!  Thank you!!

Always your little girl,  Shadrach



One Response to Baba
  1. lee Reply

    Thank you for sharing Michelle, My Dad was there for me two, Know that Uncle John and I pray for you and your family daily, We love that you have a heavenly father who is there for us and our earthy fathers for looking after us when we were growing up, We love you all Aunt Lee and Uncle John

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