Rebirth of a Tyrant
By Jane H. Smith
“Who is that standing at the door, Jane?”
I looked to see what dad was talking about, when he indicated someone
standing at his bedroom door. Dad
was close to death at that time, and in the latter days of his life, he had been
having more and more to do with the Lord than ever before.
He kept in touch with Pat Robertson who had a television show that dad
would watch from his bed. He really
liked Mr. Robertson and what he stood for.
I didn’t see anyone at the door, but he indicated there was someone
there, so I asked them to come in. I
looked at dad and said, “Dad, that is your angel coming to take you home.
Are you ready to go?” He
indicated he was and seemed at total peace with it.
It seems that for several weeks prior to the latter part of August, 1987,
dad had allowed some of the women from the local United Pentecostal Church to
visit him. That was totally unheard
of for him.
I can remember as a girl growing up with him, he would cuss a blue
streak; yell like an Indian, if anyone from any church would come to visit.
Get to h--- out of my house, he would scream.
Profanity was second nature to him with out any thought whatsoever.
Some of the totally profane words he omitted unless he hit his thumb with
a hammer or clipped something that was not to be clipped.
Nevertheless, for the most part, his profanity was just a little less
than a raunchy sailor.
He hated my mom, but then again I can’t blame him there; hated his
boss, and again, I can’t blame him, and it seemed he hated his life.
Life had not been good to him. He
contracted polio at the age of 17, in 1923, and never walked again after that.
His bitterness of not being able to walk around on his own took its toll
on him. Even though he never indicated to us that he was living in
his own kind of hell, he was a deeply bitter man.
He was a big man, around 6’ 4” and his weight neared 300 pounds
during the mean time of his life. He
dragged his dead legs around for 63 years and he never complained to us about
it. Later in his life, he would
admit that he never understood why he was the one afflicted with the disease
that would take the lives of scores of people.
True, he could not walk, but so many others died and scores were forever
entombed in iron lungs. He was in a
way, lucky, or was he blessed.
Mom was for the most part, a psychotic person.
She was violent, hateful, and without any conscience at all would just as
soon beat the living daylights out of dad and me, as though it was a normal
thing to do. She didn’t beat her
son, who was born after I arrived at their home; a product of lust and alcohol
by dad’s brother. Dad ended up
taking me because no other family member would.
Because of her inconvenience, mom was extremely mean to me.
Beatings you wouldn’t give to any living thing were the norm for me.
Dad caught a lot of it as well. I
can remember when I came charging down the stairs to defend him after he was in
bed, his braces removed and helpless, and while she stood over him beating him
senseless. When I attacked her, his
profanity could be heard for a city block.
Our family was more than dysfunctional.
It was violent. He ranted
and raved, while I took the beatings she was inflicting on him.
Her choice of weapon was a cast iron fireplace poker. She
swung it like a washwoman and landed blows directly on top of my head and
This type of behavior went on for years.
I asked him, when I was around 17, why he stayed with her, and he said if
he had left, the courts would have given me to her and she would have killed me
without further ado. For that I was
grateful, but the torture she put him through was unheard of. I can never remember ever seeing dad hit my mom.
Even though I thought at times she surely deserved it, he never hit her.
Her blows on him were nothing short of spousal abuse. If today’s laws were established in the 40’s and 50’s,
she would surely have served time in the local jail.
Dad was not the type of person who would go to church.
I don’t recall him ever going. However,
he did tell me that he went one time when I was a small girl.
He said the people snickered at him on his crutches, and some man who he
did not know, approached him to fill out some paperwork (I assume it was a
visitors card), and then asked him for a donation.
He never went back. He said
church was nothing short of a begging session by fools who just wanted his
money. Dad was so blind when it came to God’s plan for us and the
work he did for all of us.
On September 1, 1987, I sat next to dad in his bedroom. I held his hand. He
said to me, “I’m going to die tonight.”
I said to him, “Dad, you have that right.
You’ve lived for 80 years, and have been extremely successful.
You have taught me well, and I thank you for that.
But, are you ready to leave this earth?
Is your soul right with the Lord and have you ask him to forgive all of
your sins and to take you home to be with him?
I know you have had a hard life dad, but when you get to heaven, you will
run and be around others whose bodies have all been transformed from bad to
good.” He smiled and said, “yes.”
Then he said to me, “I would feel much more secure if I knew you were
okay and living in this house.” I
was torn with his statement because we lived 140 miles north, my husband and I
both had good jobs and I didn’t want to live in the Mississippi delta region
ever again. I didn’t know what to
say because I was so surprised with his statement.
I didn’t want to stop my sharing his last moments with him to call my
husband to get his thoughts on the matter, so instinctly I said, “Well dad,
I’ll come back here for two years; two years only.
If we can’t make a decent living here, we will go back north.”
Dad understood. I sat there pondering what I would do without him, when he
asked who was at the door.
I must say that to look at a doorway where no one stood is indeed a
feeling of fear. However, he was so
calm about it and gave me every indication that it was good.
I had a aura to come over me that was nothing short of miraculous.
I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.
He gave me assurance that dad would be just fine.
Dad said, “You know, I had a dream the other night that I was running
across fields of the brightest flowers and I didn’t have anything wrong with
my legs, no braces, no crutches.” I
was amazed. At the time I was a new Christian and my knowledge of how the
Holy Spirit moves was new to me. I
didn’t quite understand all of it, and I was somewhat unsure of what was going
on. However, when I opened my mouth
to speak, the words flowed as though I was well versed in the Holy Spirit, and I
said to dad, “Dad, you are ready to leave this old earth to go to a glorious
place. A place of tranquility and
peace. You are ready to go to be
with the Lord.” I whispered, PRAISE
HIS HOLY NAME!!
Dad closed his eyes and drifted into a coma-like state.
He was peaceful and still. During
the night that night, September 2, 1987, dad’s blood pressure bottomed out to
the point I could not get a reading at all.
He lasted until the next morning when the doctor came and then dad
slipped into eternity. What a great transformation took place over that few months.
From yelling and screaming profanities, to his actually admitting he was
wanting to go with his “angel” and to his new home.
I was so happy for him. It
was I had hoped for my entire life. As
I look back at him that night, I see the glow about him that radiated joy and
peacefulness about him.
The tyrant was gone, to be no more, but the new freed and renewed spirit was entering God’s kingdom and the Angel’s sang Hallelujah.
Back to ToInspire Home Page