Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just Count the Good Strokes

My sweet daddy, J (Jay) Ronald Swint, passed away on September 19, 2011 at home. He suffered terribly for many years with ill health but did so with grace and integrity.

I don't remember hearing my dad complain about feeling bad, ever. But I did hear him try to joke and make things better. If he bust out into song with a rousing rendition of "I feel good..." we knew he was in extreme pain. He tried to keep a positive outlook on life and he tried to be happy and joyful all while enduring faithfully to the end.

I love my daddy with all my heart. He was a great man! He had an exciting, even glamorous life through his work with Capitol Records in the "hey-day" of great music. He knew and worked with the greats. I'm talking Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, The Beach Boys, even The Beatles. He was great at his job, but that is not what defined him. He wanted to be remembered as a man of integrity and principle; a man who loved his God, his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; a man who loved his family and adored his wife more than he could express.

I happened to have the privilege of spending some of his last few precious days with him. He went downhill pretty fast. He struggled for each breath and we had to keep him doped up on pain meds just to keep him comfortable. It was the most difficult thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life! I shed many silent tears, expressed innumerable words of love and appreciation and I often just sat in silence absorbing the pure goodness of his spirit. I will ALWAYS treasure that sweet time we were afforded together.

My dad and I had great times together. He was one of the funniest people I have ever known and he was a blast to be around. We often golfed together. In fact, we used to golf 3 times a week. On the course, we would talk about life. Don't get me wrong, we laughed a lot, but we also had some of our best talks on the golf course. I always kept score for both of us. As I would inevitably lose my ball in the drink or in the rough, I would be counting up my strokes, including the penalty stroke, and he would say, "Oh babe, don't take a penalty...losing your ball was penalty enough!". Then he would go on to say, "Just count the good strokes, the bad ones just mess with your head and mess up the rest of your game!" and sometimes he would simply say, "Let's enjoy the game and NOT keep score today." (He was the sweetest cheater I ever knew...he always cheated in MY favor!)

As I have traveled through life, I have come to really appreciate the wisdom in what seemed to be simply a friendly game of golf. How many times do we focus on the negative or bad things that have happened to us and forget to celebrate the good? Focusing on the "bad strokes" tends to throw us off a rhythm and oft times throws us into a tailspin, leading to possible self-destruction...I tend to beat myself up over my mistakes and forget that I am deserving of my own forgiveness.

So to my precious and ever wise father, I say this; Thank you for reminding me that I have worth and that I am deserving of all the good things in life. I will always remember you and take great joy and comfort in knowing that I had the best father I could have ever imagined!


Lynn said...

Dear Mary,

I feel like I know your dad, through reading all your posts about him. This one is the sweetest tribute ever.

So sorry to hear of his passing. What a beautiful gift you have though to recognize all the good that his life brought to yours. And what a blessing it is to have the knowledge that we do....that this life isn't the end.

Until you two shall meet again.....enjoy those wonderful memories. What a day it will be when you shall see your daddy again.


Lynn said...

P.S. I can picture your dad being involved with the singing angels' choir somehow. The organizing and preparing for the day(s) when that angelic choir is to sing their hearts out. ; D

Love Being A Nonny said...

What a precious tribute to your daddy. So glad you have those memories. I can tell he was proud of you!

Happily Ever After Again said...

What a nice post. He sounds like an amazing man. Focusing on the positive - definitely words I try to live by! :)

BARBIE said...

What a beautiful tribute to your dad. He sounds like a fabulous man of God. I am thankful he's Home and no longer suffering.

Kimberly said...

I am so sorry about your Dad. My Mom passed away Sept. 12.