December 12, 2007

It’s a Wonderful Life…Part 2

Written by Boyd Bailey

Health Decline

As time passed, I went to work in churches and Dad and Pat did their thing. At best dad maintained his health, however in 1989 he had open-heart surgery. I flew into Cedar Rapids, Iowa to be with him and Pat. I prayed for him before he went in and wept for him when he came out of surgery. I hurt for him as he lay there. The surgery was inevitable, however his heart was never to be the same .

The dysfunctional heartbeat needed correction. Doctors attempted to help with a new, still-being-tested defibrillator, which malfunctioned and caused dad more problems. Eventually his heart became stable when the defibrillator was replaced with a working one and a pacemaker was added. Along the way, medication helped his heart, but caused kidney failure so for the last 3 ½ years of dad’s life. He experienced kidney dialysis five times a day in one-hour intervals.


I want to publicly thank and appreciate Pat, my step mom, for loving my dad through thick and thin. These thirty-two roses represent their thirty-two years of marriage. She has been an unsung hero loving dad, caring for dad, laughing at his jokes, and being the helpmate and loving wife during very difficult circumstances. I told her she has earned her PHD in health care with her experience with doctors, hospitals and caring for dad. Pat, I love you very, very much and I thank God for your heart and life. Your service and life has not gone unnoticed. Great will be your reward in heaven. Jesus said it like this, “When you give one of these a cup of water, it is like you gave me a cup of water.”

A Friend

I give you this background because I want you to understand somewhat of who was George Bailey. Similar to the character of Jimmy Stewart played, Dad has friends like you who loved him very much. You are his resume. You invested in each other, and because of that you are better people. Friendships are life-long, they compound over time. Dad was rich because of the friendships he had with you. Dad was also a giver.

A Giver

Dad was a Shriner, he gave to support the local effort to help sick children. Children had a soft spot in Dad’s heart. He loved his grandchildren, Rebekah, Rachel, Bethany and Anna Grace. His mind was sharp, always capturing those details that only a caring grandfather would remember. How is their school? Tell me about their basketball. Any boys hanging around? One Christmas Dad and Pat came to stay with us. During their stay he hired three men to build the girls a playhouse you would have thought was the Ritz Carlton. The girls still affectionately call it granddaddy’s playhouse.

A Fighter

Dad was also a fighter. The reason he survived a heart attack at age 33 was his ability to persevere, move forward, and never give up. Life to Dad was a daily adventure. He knew he was living on borrowed time, as early as age 40. He was extremely conscious that everyday was a gift from God. Maybe that’s why he was so mature, focused and sometimes demanding. I love dad because he wanted to live life to its fullest, not waste a minute. That’s one reason why I think his last 3 ½ years were extra hard on him, being confined to home.

A Christian

The last point I want to mention is dad’s faith. Many have prayed for dad’s spiritual and physical health over the years. Many of those prayers have been answered and I want to personally thank you. One of those prayer requests was for dad to know God in a personal way through Jesus Christ. It came after one of his near death experiences. From his hospital bed, on the phone, he expressed to me, that God had a purpose for him. That had allowed him to live for a reason. He believed in Christ and wanted to do His will.

Soon after this Dad and Pat came to our home during Thanksgiving. The girls, Rita and I gave him a Bible, which he cherished and was very grateful. He started attending a Bible study at a local church lead by the pastor.


I love my dad. Thank you for being a part of his life. I am grateful God gives us the hope of seeing him again. Events like these are a good time for all of us to take a personal inventory. The Bible teaches to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Will the minister be able to stand at your funeral one day and say with confidence you are present with the Lord? If not, this is a very good time to settle that issue by trusting Christ as savior and Lord.

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