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photo: CCO public domain


I will never forget the day the phone rang in my home in Jamaica, November 28, 1973,

Delivering what was the worst news of my life, at that point.

A friend we knew in Ft. Lauderdale said, “Hold on a minute Martha. I’ll put your mom on the phone.”

My mom got on the phone and said, “Your dad went to be with the Lord today.”

In a classic state of denial, I said, “You mean Grandaddy. (Our elderly demented, dearly loved grandfather.)

“No,” she said, “Your dad.”


At that point, she told me the details of his shocking and untimely death that day.

He died of a sudden heart attack at age 54 while in his office at church.

He wasn’t feeling well, because he got up to sit in the chair nearby from his chair at the desk.

But he didn’t think it was bad enough to call his secretary in the next room.          stop


Most likely denial.

Saving him might have been quite difficult at the time.

The clot was located in the part of the coronary artery called the widow maker.

It was 1973.

They didn’t do all those cardiac caths like they do now.


I had an almost 2 1/2 year old and a 7 month old.

My dad’s parents outlived their only child.

My youngest sister was 8. (considerably younger than the rest of us for sure!)

Shock, numbness, questioning and anger filled much of 1974, at least for me.

I was turning to GOD, but it wasn’t polite or neat.

It was a big sloppy mess of tears, what-ifs, why’s what a waste of time! and screaming.


The grief for my dad, which was huge, was further complicated by undealt-with grief over

The death of our stillborn daughter 3+ years before!

As I read books on death, I realized how little I had been cared for then.

And how little I knew how to care for myself at the time.


In the end, I realized I needed Jesus in ways I never realized before!

That without Him, I was never going to make it through the rest of my life…ever.