The Original

In late 2013, my 85-year old dad, Robert Samuel McGarity, had been in a nursing home for a couple of years, with seriously declining health, and had been admitted-and-released from hospice care at least twice.  I thought I had prepared myself, and was pretty confident that I was ready for him to be free from his suffering, and for me to let him go.  Then, the phone rang, and they told me that he had a serious infection with a raging fever, had stopped eating, and he was starting to shut down.  They said he had maybe 2-to-3 days, and we should say our good-byes.

I thanked the lady on the other end of the line, hung up the phone…and fell apart.  I was glad I was alone.  Turns out, I wasn’t nearly as ready as I thought I was.  🙄

We called the kids in, and each of us went to see him, while I tried to figure out if this was really happening.

Two weeks later, the nursing home called again, said they didn’t understand why, but the infection and fever were gone (without benefit of any antibiotics), he was eating again, and….  Well, they kind of apologized because my father hadn’t died.  😳

Oh well.  Dad never was one to be limited by someone else’s expectations.  I wonder if, in his mind, he didn’t say, “Well, Jesus, we fooled’em again!”  😜

Four years ago today, on May 8, 2015, the Irishman finally went home to Heaven. I think I was a little more ready this time…and I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for his life, and his example, and his legacy.

Pastor. Evangelist. Missionary. Church planter. Church builder.

Gospel singer. Softball player. Horseman.

Husband. Dad. Grandpa. Big brother. “Uncle Sam”.  “Brother McGarity”.  He really was the “original” Sam McGarity, the first of what is currently four consecutive generations holding the name.

I was recently reminded of how his commitment to love my mother – and ONLY my mother – had such a powerful and profound impact on my life, and on the lives of my boys, whether they knew it or not. “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death parted them after 54 years….”

Something that I have taken for granted most of my life — a legacy of faithfulness in marriage — is something that was handed down to me by a man who vowed to break a generational curse. And, he did. He SHOWED me that you could be friendly with EVERYONE…but NEVER inappropriate.  He was a faithful, loving husband. It’s certainly not the only thing he taught me, but it stands out…and I’m grateful.  👍

So…Dad, I want you to know that I’m happy for you, and Mom.  I’m glad that you get to be together, in Heaven, with Jesus, forever…however that whole Eternity thing works.  (I’ll be the first to say that it’s beyond my comprehension.)  I’m grateful for the life lessons, and the heritage of faith and music, and the hunting trips, and the games of pitch-and-catch, with you saying, “Okay, hit my glove.”  For hours. Great memories.  😍🤗

But, I also want you to know that I still miss you. Somehow, I think that, maybe, that might still be important to you.  Maybe not…but, I think that you might – in Heaven, even – actually laugh.  They’ll get used to it. 😂  Thanks for everything, Dad, including THE name. Love you. ❤️ 

— Douglas Samuel McGarity

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