Saturday, March 17, 2012


Kiss me, I’m Irish. Yes, I’m part Irish, English and Creek Indian, but on this day if you are a little or a lot Irish, it doesn’t matter if you want to celebrate. My maiden name was O’Neal, so I feel Irish today. St. Patrick used the shamrock to represent the Holy Trinity and placed the Irish symbol of the sun onto the Christian cross. You can see it on my bible in the picture. He was a missionary to Ireland where most of the Irish worshiped nature based pagan Gods. He shared the “good news” of Christ and converted many to Christianity.

My father was buried on this day, 37 years ago. Unfortunately, I was not there for the funeral, due to unfortunate circumstances. I did see him about 6 weeks before he died, and it was a very tough visit with a small toddler on my skinny hip (at the time, Okay, lol!)

One good thing that came out of this visit was that he and I knelt one evening in his bedroom, and he prayed to receive Christ as his savior. This still brings fresh tears to my eyes now. I don’t credit myself for this. I was merely the instrument God chose to use. I feel like that was the purpose of my visit, because I knew that I would not be able to come back. At the time I was okay with that. But after a few years, I came to realize that I did not get closure—if there can be any—because I wasn’t able to be there, to grieve with my family or to say a final goodbye.

Now 37 years later, I still wish I could have been there because I needed my family’s support in loosing a father that I loved so much, even though for the most part he was an absentee father.

Today, as I have my coffee, I set an extra cup for the absent father as a tribute to his memory. He gave me my first taste of coffee, while sitting on the back porch steps in his undershirt after work. He would pour me a sip in the saucer and I would eagerly devour it before mama would catch us! Pretty much the same way that I have done with my own grandchildren. My father was a kind, gentle soul. He never raised his voice that I can remember. He called me Baby, never Brenda. I can understand why my mother loved him in spite of all his flaws. He was handsome and sweet and well liked by everyone. The two of them must’ve celebrated his birthday this past Thursday in Heaven. Someday I’ll be joining them as well. What a day of rejoicing that will be.

Enough of all this blarney…So here’s to you, John Samuel O’Neal…I miss you still.


Caroline Friday said...

Brenda, this is very sweet and vivid! I never knew this about you. You'll have to write about it one day! Glad to know your daddy is in heaven.

Maggie Brendan said...

Glad you enjoyed my post, Caroline. I don't have a lot of time to blog much anymore. One of these days I will write something about my parents--maybe indirectly about them. I'm not sure yet. :)

Janet Capps said...

What a sweet tribute to your father. I lost mine last year and my mom in 2007. Being an only child, it was hard this year when their birthdays rolled around. My Mom was 1 day older than my dad--birthdays Jan. 29 & 30. It seemed so strange not sending my dad a card, but I'm sure they were celebrating both their birthdays in heaven and having a high time of it. They both loved company so know they were with my Grandparents and many others that have gone before. Your tribute brought tears to my eyes, thinking of my own daddy.