Some of you in this area may have known my dad. He lived in Greenbrier County for many years and called it home. Some knew him as Walter Ellison, while others knew him by his childhood nickname, Spooky. Whichever name people knew him by, they knew he was special. He always had a smile and a good joke to make you laugh. He cared about his friends and did whatever he could to help them in their time of need. In his later life, he felt the call to become a preacher. He was a United Methodist minister and was living in Union at the time he passed in 2014.
I lived in Georgia at that time, so we didn’t talk as often as we should have, but I knew he loved me and he knew I loved him. But when I came up to Union for his funeral, I was amazed at how many people attended the ceremony. I heard story after story of how my dad helped people turn their lives around. People from all walks of life shared their story with me and it was then that I realized what a special gift my dad had been given. I just hoped that one day, I could make that kind of difference in people’s lives. Now, almost three years later, here I am – back in dad’s hometown trying in my own way to live up to his legacy and help people.
Some of my dad’s friends who’ve read my column tell me how proud they are of me. Reading my column, they say, is like listening to my dad preach all over again. Always emphasizing the positive and trying to help others do the same. My stepmom called me one night about a week ago. She wanted to tell me that my dad would be so proud of me and I sound just like him in my columns. My dad and I didn’t always have the perfect relationship, but to hear that he would be proud from so many different people brought a tear to my eye. I’m finally doing what I always wanted – trying to improve people’s lives just like Daddy.
I was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving with my dad just before he got sick. I’ll never forget those days and the memories we made. He was sick for a couple of months before he passed, but I’ll always remember him taking me to the local grocery store in Union and proudly introducing his daughter to everyone. Watching the wonder on my daughter’s face together as she played in the snow for the first time in her life. Making memories that will now have to last me a lifetime.
We all know that our parents are going to cross over at some point in our lives, but I don’t think there is any way you can prepare for that. When we are children, our parents are invincible – they are our heroes who take care of us and guide us through life. But as we get older, that dynamic shifts and we are the ones taking care of them. Always be patient and kind to them when they reach that stage in life. Remember there was a time you couldn’t walk or feed yourself or dress yourself and they loving did all that for you. Cherish the time you have with your parents because in the blink of an eye, they will be gone.
I still have my mother and am very grateful for that. She has been a huge influence in my life. But I was a daddy’s girl when I was little. I’m thankful that I have this platform to carry on my dad’s work and help as many people as possible. Every day, I feel my dad’s presence and know that he is watching over me and helping me in my endeavors. I believe everything happens for a reason. If my dad hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be here, in Greenbrier County, helping the same people my dad loved and cared for so much.
So for now, dear readers, I’ll leave you with this quote to ponder during the coming week. “Sometimes, you will never know the true value of a moment until it’s become a memory.” —Author Unknown. Make the most of your life while you have it and make lasting memories with those you love. Don’t wait for tomorrow, do it today, because tomorrow may be too late.
Bright Blessings, Peace and Happiness,