A New Man

The azaleas my Dad planted around the yard with such care were finally blooming. So were the hyacinths, tulips, and dogwoods. In earlier years Daddy would spend hours outside either working in his yard or just standing and surveying the work he had done as he turned steaks on the grill. I would watch him from the kitchen window and wonder what he was looking at with such interest. Now, with my own yard I know – He was admiring the work that had been done while at the same time planning what he wanted to do next.

This particular year was quite different, the azaleas, hyacinths, tulips, and dogwoods were blooming, however Daddy was unable to enjoy the works of his many years of labor. The hospital bed that had been delivered only a few weeks earlier and the bedroom he and my mom had shared since they were a young couple with three small children had become his only world.

This didn’t stop my brother who had recently bought a camcorder to capture the first days of his new baby girl from going outside and making a video of Daddy’s beautiful yard.  Bob was so excited about doing this for our Dad that he immediately hooked the camcorder up to the television that was in his room.  The rest of the family that was visiting that day gathered around as Bob brought the beauty of the spring day inside. This time as I watched my Dad, not from the kitchen window but from a chair beside his hospital bed, I noticed a completely different look on his face. No longer was he admiring the work he had done and he was no longer planning what he wanted to do next.

The sadness that moved across my heart was almost more than I could handle. The hospice nurse had already given us “THE BLUE BOOK” and it was very straightforward in explaining the mental process of someone with a terminal illness. The word used was “detachment.” Yes, I had noticed that Daddy no longer cared about the newspaper or the 6:00 News, however this was different. His yard was personal. And from the look in his eyes, I knew he was removing himself, preparing himself for what was ahead. The yard was not important even though it had been one of his greatest pleasures. His greatest pleasure now was the people around his bed.

These memories and so many more flood into my heart throughout the year. Then the calendar turns to April 19 and the world continues on as if it is another day. Perhaps it is to most, but to the family and friends of Leland King, it is a day in which we reflect not only on the loss of a loving son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, co-worker, and friend, but what we gained by him being in our lives.

As I write with tear stained cheeks I hold on to the promise that “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away . . . behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:4, 5). He made Daddy a new man – whole and healthy – so when the memories begin, this is what I try to remember the most!

John Leland King, Sr.

Dec. 11, 1934 – April 19, 1999


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sharon Sullivan on April 19, 2010 at 11:41 pm


    This blog about your dad made me tear up too!! I can remember visiting with him, sitting by the hospital bed and asking him how I needed to prune my red tips and…he told me just how to do it.

    I remember April 19th so very well too!! I was in awe of the strength God gave you to stand up on that stage and give such a heartfelt eulogy.

    He is truly missed but through his death, sooooo many came to know Jesus.

    Love to you,



  2. This was so beautifully written, Beth. Poignant, true and moving. May God bless the work He has prepared for you to do!


  3. Posted by Tim Wilder on February 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm


    Well done. Thanks for sharing that story with us. Tim Wilder


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