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AFK for a Bit

SO hi there. On Tuesday, after I posted, an ongoing heart problem put my dad back in the hospital. (He’s had 8 stents tucked into a single messed up artery in the last 5 years.)

Last year, when the 7th stent failed, they sent him to the best heart specialists in the country, who told him that due to a longstanding blood disorder—THANKS VIETNAM WAR! You and Agent Orange are the gifts that keep on giving!— he was not a good candidate for open heart. They put in an 8th stent and changed his meds and told us there was no more stenting room.

Then the 8th stent failed, and there were no more options, except, you know, lie down and die. Not my dad’s forte. When there are no other options, the ideas about what makes a person a good candidate change…

He couldn’t have the surgery for 5 days though, because he’s long been on blood thinners. They wanted him to stay in the hospital until the open heart, but he gently told them hellz to the no, and told me, privately, that if his gentle hellz to the no failed, he was willing to shoot his way out.

They let him come home for Thanksgiving.

The whole family gathered to hang out with him and wait. He was allowed to carve the turkey, and watch football if he promised not to get excited. He kept that promise, except when OU, his alma mater, tied up a game in the last 30 seconds, then won in overtime. Which, COME ON. One little WHOOP was warranted there, heart failure or no heart failure.

I was pretty terrified. The odds, they were not with us. But as my brother reminded me, “No one ever made money betting AGAINST Bob Jackson.” And, as Bobby also reminded me, I’ve been told my dad didn’t have long to live since I was about seven years old, when the blood disorder first happened. That was supposed to kill him in a year or two.

My father is an extraordinary man. He really is. Real life super hero. All my life, I have witnessed him quietly going about doing the right thing. I can’t tell you how much this matters. The best thing you can do for your children is be decent. My father is so, so decent, and so good. I strive to live up to that; I fail more often than not. But without him, I wouldn’t even know to strive. My father taught me what goodness, and patience, and kindness LOOK like, what life looks like when you live these things.

The night before the surgery, Maisy curled up beside him, fretting, and he told her, so calm, with such assurance, “Baby, either way, it will all be fine. You dont; have to worry at all. I hope it goes well, that will be so nice, to see you grow up, golf with BJ, all that good stuff. But if it goes badly, that will be okay, too. I will be fine, that’s what you have to remember. And I know we will see each other again.”

He’s the one going under the knife, yet he is comforting all of US? Who IS this man?

He came through the surgery, against the odds, last Monday. He is still in the ICU though, a week later. It’s worrying. I came home Thursday so the kids could go to school, but will be heading back to Alabama depending on when mom needs me.

After, we got to go see him. His eyes cracked open, and focused on my mom. He tried to smile. “Hey, baby,” he told her. “How pretty you look.”

We ask how he is, and he tells me and my brother to make sure SHE is getting enough rest and good meals. They cracked him open like a walnut, he is in SUCH pain, and all he cares about is, how is mom doing. Meanwhile, he is so lovely to the nurses—they warned us he might be violent or odd or very off coming out of anesthesia. The surgery is so serious, puts you in such pain—-all the drugs, they reduce you to your essential self.

His essential self is soft-spoken, kind, mighty, and devoted to his family. His essential, internal self is no different than the self he has always presented to the world.

How do you live like that? I want to live like that.

Bob Jackson is the greatest man that I have ever known.

61 comments to AFK for a Bit

  • What a lovely tribute to your father. I suspect you are like him more than you know.

  • Beth

    Thank you for sharing your daddy with us with your words. I’m praying that he’ll have relief from the pain and recover quickly and thoroughly.

  • Oh my that was such a beautiful post about your dad. See now it all becomes very clear to me, why you are the person you are and why you are so special. Because this man made you. I’ll say a prayer for all of you, but especially your dad to recover and for a stress-free bowl game season.

  • What a wonderful man. I’ll be thinking of all of you.

  • DebR

    Sending good thoughts to your dad, your family and you~~~~~

  • Melinda

    Such lovely words about your father. He is blessed to have a daughter such as you.

  • Tonya Urbatsch

    I hope you share this post with your Dad – lovely!

  • lori n.

    What a beautiful tribute to your dad, I wil be praying for you and him, he sounds like a wonderful man.

  • What a lovely post. Your father sounds like quite a man. You and your family are in my prayers.

  • erinanne

    Your father and your family are in my prayers. Your father sounds like the kind of person we all aspire to be.

  • What a wonderful tribute; so personal and amazing!

  • liz

    Big hugs to you and your family.

  • Peace to all of you, Joss.

  • Katherine

    What a lovely post about your dad! Hugs and prayers for all of you.

  • Jessica (the celt)

    Your dad and your entire family are in my prayers, Joss. It’s amazing when people see the goodness in front of them and not only recognize it, but also celebrate its presence in their lives. I know we’ve all seen integrity defined as what you do when no one is looking, and it sounds like your dad is the exact definition of integrity. He did what he did no matter if someone was looking or not, and I think that’s a lesson that I want to carry with me and be aware of more often.

    You are all indeed blessed to have one another in your lives, and the greater blessing is that you will have one another with you forever. So be it and so may it be.

  • All my best to your papa and family. Extra hugs for Maisy, who sounds like she could use them.

  • Linda J

    Prayers to you and your family

  • adding my prayers for the whole gang too! What an amazing role model.

  • myra fabian

    Please let your dad know his UPS Store lady is praying for him (bless him, he comes from Oneonta to ship to your babies). He is a wonderful man.

  • Elizabeth

    Prayers. I can hear it now: “Be sure your momma gets some rest now.” I mean, I don’t know him, but I know the type. Rare treasure, indeed.

  • Fran

    Ah Sweetie, what a terrible thing to be living through, and only you Jacksons could do so with such amazing style and coolness.

    In our thoughts and prayers, my dear. ((((hugs))))

  • Laura

    How lucky you are to have such a wonderful man in your life. There is just something about a good, kind, and caring Dad, isn’t there? I’m sending some strong healing thoughts and prayers your Dad’s way.

  • Thank you for sharing your daddy with us. Praying fervently for his recovery so he can continue to be a great man here on earth. He is right, you know; it will be alright either way. But so much better if he could stick around a little while longer.

    Hugs to you and the family.

  • Em

    Wow! I want to be like him too. I’ll work on it. And while I do I will say a prayer for your dad and for your family. I hope he is up and around very quickly.

  • Andrea

    Oh, my prayers are with you and your family. I’m just a lucky girl like you, with a quiet, kind, and mind-bogglingly strong daddy. They are the greatest men. Hope he makes a full recovery very soon.

  • Kim

    Happy tears! God bless your father–prayers up.

  • Oh, Joss. ::HUGS:: Good thoughts for your dad’s recovery and for you all.

  • I loved reading this and am positively reduced to tears. Your dad’s story reminds me very much of what my grandfather went through almost 20 years ago. He stunned me with his strength, endurance, and goodness. Wishing your dad the best.

  • Lori B.

    Oh what a good Daddy you have. Praying for him, for you, and for the whole family.

  • Jill W.

    He sounds like an extraordinary man. God bless him. I will keep all of you in my prayers.

  • Weepy. Hug your dad for me, unless it would cause him to pop a stent, in which case substitute a respectful handshake, or perhaps a meaningful nod.

  • What a lovely tribute! Prayers for a speedy recovery, and for the whole family.

  • Kathy

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful person with us through your blog.

  • Michelle M.

    what a lucky girl you are to have such a sweet, kind and caring Daddy. Thinking about you and your family, especially your Mama.

  • Tracey

    Beautifully written. Offering a prayer for you and your family.

  • Catherine

    I have a father very much like yours. Just a wonderful decent, kind man! We are very lucky daughters, Joshilyn! All good thoughts and prayers going out to you and your family.

  • Jen H.

    Hugs and prayers all around. (You made me cry with that, you know).

  • Melody

    What a blessing that he had children, and that his children had a man like him to raise them up in the way that they should go. I strive to be like that too. I fail, but I keep trying. Love and kindness towards others gets me every time. I pray that he improves daily.

  • Oh, Joshilyn I loved this. I am sending all the healing energy I can your dad’s way..love you sweetheart.

  • He’s right, you know, that it’s going to be okay no matter what happens. We know that because you could write this about him.

  • Aimee

    Your dad sounds like an absolutely lovely man. I’m so sorry he’s having to deal with so much pain, and that all of you are so worried. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  • ebethnyc

    sniff sniff. daughters and our dads. sounds like you really won the daddy lottery. I will hope and pray and think and wish for a full and speedyish recovery (as long as it takes). I think it’s often harder for everyone other than the patient so I am also sending gobs of love to you, dear Joshilyn, and the rest of your family.

  • Lulu

    What a beautiful testimony for your dad, Miss Joshilyn! Regardless of stents and blood disorders, it sounds like he has a wonderful heart! Prayers & best wishes for a good recovery and healthiness all around.

  • Desi

    I pray he recovers quickly & completely.
    And arent’ you glad the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  • This is loveliness, Jocelyn. What a beautiful tribute – I hope your dad is fully recovered soon.

  • Jan in Norman, OK

    Prayers and good thoughts going out to you and to your dad.

    (Boomer Sooner)

  • Jim Henderson

    What a moving and touching tribute… I know your Dad must be so proud of you. You can move people who know neither you nor your Dad (like me) to tears with your words. What a gift.

  • Sandy King

    We are so glad he is doing well. Please give him and your Mom our best.

  • dara

    SUCH a beautiful piece. You are both fortunate to have one another. Prayers for his swift healing.

  • Love, prayers, hugs, and blessings to your dad and all those who love him so. That means you. 🙂

  • Bobby Drane

    Tell you mom and dad they are in our prayers and in our hearts i know Bob is a great guy wish him the best .

  • Joshilyn, love your talk about your dad. I’m a Vietnam era soldiers daughter, also and they just don’t make them like that anymore. I love my dad and have been blessed to have him. Yours sounds like a hoot and giggle. I’m glad he did so well with his surgery. I’m also and ICU post cardiac surgery nurse. I have the best memories from my days. Give Dad a hug while he’s taking a deep breath. Old ICU trick.

  • L Lillian

    Lovely words Joss, and my thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. As to your question of how do you live like that? You forgot to turn your microphone off enough times when playing online games that I know you are your father’s daughter with the same kindness in your heart 🙂

  • Klint

    Best wishes and thoughts to your whole family.

  • edj

    My dad was a bit like that too. He taught high school, and even now if I run into an old student of his, they rave about him and tell me they want to be him when they grow up. These people are mid-40s now, and they still remember him with great fondness.

    I think I love your dad just from this post. Best wishes–prayers for a full recovery.

  • Idella

    What a lovely daughter you are to share with us the love you have for your father and family. Indeed, your Dad (and Mom I suspect)HAS clearly made an impact on the person who you are and you seem to be doing a damn good job of living up to his example!

  • Jill

    I am praying for your dad and for you. May God give all of you peace and strength as your dad heals and gets stronger. He is in God’s arms.

  • This post on your dad shed new light on your books, through which his caring shines through.

  • Aparatchick

    Well that lovely and loving tribute just made me cry – and that takes some doing. Here’s to your father’s complete (and quick) recovery.

  • I’m coming late to the party, but had to comment, even so. Hope your dad’s doing well at this point! He sounds so much like my granddad (also from Alabama!) who was the kindest man I’ve ever met. You’ve written a beautiful tribute to him up there. We’re all pulling for him! 🙂

  • I am continuing to send love and light to you and your entire family – most especially your incredible father.