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Monday, May 24, 2004

My Dad

Okay, I figured a little bit of background on my life might give you some insight as to why I am the person I am.

To begin with my father was in the Navy when he met my mother. Of course that meant he met her in San Diego, CA instead of Indiana where he was raised. Low and behold I came along on January 18, 1980 and my brother came along February 18, 1981. I believe my mother and father got married when I was about 2 (which is a huge thing to my grandmother, and definitely not such a big deal to me). Unfortunately they only stayed married a short while and by the time I was 5 my brother and I lived with my dad and grandparents here in Indiana.

My father was trying to support my brother and I so he had to work out of town to make ends meet. Because of that we lived with my grandparents most of the time because they made sure we got to school and all of that. They are two wonderful people. I know it had to be hard to take on raising your only two grandchildren but they did without complaint. They are a blessing in my life.

My father remarried when I was 14. It was a hard time because it was a huge transition. My dad was also the one to go for injured puppies and his wife was no exception. She had been abused as a child and in both of her previous marriages. When he met her she worked as a stripper and I know my dad had a need to take care of her. The first couple of years where good but by the time I was 16 she had left and they were talking divorce. Of course this talk went on through her moving in and out twice and eventually them divorcing. My dad had a hard time with this but I supported him as best I could. I have always been the peacemaker in my family and this was no different.

I found a new respect for my Dad when I learned about his divorce from my mother. It was never something that was talked about in our family but as a teenager I discovered a lot of things I didn't know about him. As a kid I always assumed that my mother didn't want us and that's why my Dad had us. I couldn't have been more wrong. My mother was not a good mother by any stretch of the imagination but she didn't give us up easily. My Dad went to California and fought to get us back. He threatened her with the law for things he knew she had done and did all he could to bring us home. I knew my Father loved us but to know he was willing to go to any lengths to keep us in his life opened my eyes to the man that he really was.

When I decided to get married it definitely put a strain on our relationship. My dad loved Gabe but didn't want me to marry at 18. He was upset but eventually came around to understand that I was going to do it whether he was going to support me or not. He walked me down the aisle and I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. He cried when he hugged me and I knew it was hard for him but he did all he could to be there for me.

Skip ahead about a year and a half. This was when my Dad got sick. He was diagnosed with kidney failure and started on dialysis. That was only the second time in my whole life I can remember my Daddy crying. He was a big, strong man, and he was scared just like me. He was told he could lead a relatively normal life while on dialysis and that he would be put on the organ donation list. I believed with all my heart that he would get his transplant and that he would be okay. We prayed for 2 and a half years that he would get the transplant that he so badly needed. Unfortunately, that day never came.

On August 30, 2002 at 11:00 p.m. I received that phone call that I had been so scared of since my father had become ill. I will never forget that moment. I was on the phone with my sister-in-law talking about Longaberger baskets and joking around. I didn't realize that only moments later my life would be forever changed. My call waiting beeped in and it was my grandmother. The words out of her mouth were "Brandy, honey, I'm so sorry but your father died tonight." I was inconsolable. My reaction was pure shock and I didn't understand. I can remember the only word I could say was "What?" I must have been shouting because Gabe ran into the room from the bedroom and had to take the phone from me to find out what was going on. I couldn't even tell him that my father was gone. I didn't have the words to express the anguish and sorrow I felt at that moment.

The next few days were spent with family and trying to work things out with the funeral. My dad died on Labor Day weekend so it was devastating to try to get through those days and make it to the funeral. I can still remember every emotion of that day, having to say good bye to my Daddy and put him in the ground was more than I thought I could bear. I felt as though the load the Lord had put on me was too much and that he had way overestimated my strength. I just kept saying that the Bible says when you have done all you can do to stand, stand. I felt that's where I was, I was staying, waiting to see what the Lord had in store.

When I buried my father I felt as though part of me had died too. I know now that it had. My father will always be a part of me and my children will one day know him through me but that part of me that was him will has gone. I have a picture on my living room coffee table that used to sit on his mantle. It's the picture I gave him on his first birthday after my wedding. It is him walking me down the aisle. A few weeks after he died I stumbled across a picture frame entitled "Dad & Me" and I knew that picture needed to go there. Every time I see it I thank the Lord for the blessing that was my Daddy. Just last week my sister in law and her 3-year old son were at the house. He walked over to the picture and said "That's your Daddy. His name's Max." I could have cried right there. I knew at that moment that my Dad would never be forgotten and that he would always be right here with me, in my heart and in the memories that I could share of him.

I know that this entry comes from a need to talk about him because his birthday is tomorrow. He would have been 48-years old had he lived. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for letting me share him with all of you.

In Loving Memory
Max Edward Campbell, Jr.
May 25, 1956 - August 30,2002


Blogger Kristy said...

Brandi that is such a moving entry - I'm crying right here at the computer. I think remembering your Dad in this manner is wonderful way to get through a difficult time. Take care.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Sheri said...

Oh sweetie! (((hugs))) That was such a beautiful entry. You are an amazing, strong woman. I am so sorry for your loss, but am so happy that through you, he will never be forgotten.

My thoughts and prayers are with you, on what I am sure is a hard day for you.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Brandy, that is such a touching story. Tears are streaming down my face as I type this. I can't imagine how I'd get by if something happened to my father and my heart is aching for you having to deal with that. I'm glad that your father will live on through your memory, but I'm with you in wishing that he could have been there to meet your children.


2:09 AM  

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