Thursday, May 01, 2008

With love

My father, circa 1945

Travis Houston Strickland
June 27, 1926-April 27, 2008

My father died of a massive heart attack Sunday morning. Although we knew he had heart disease (he had a quadruple bypass six or seven years ago), we were much more concerned lately about the hydrocephalus that was causing memory loss, dizziness, and trouble walking. I talked to him Saturday night. He was starting to sound better. I wasn't prepared at all to get the frantic calls early Sunday morning. Not at all.

But rather than dwell on that, I'll just point to what he loved. He loved that he served in the Navy during World War II. He loved Branson, MO, and laughing. Folks loved his easy smile and his friendliness. He loved carving wood figures with a group of friends who called themselves the Wood Chippers. There's a photo of him I'd like to have, sitting in front of a store on the road between Weatherford (where he lived) and Stephenville (where my sisters live). He and his wood chipping buddies are carving for crowds who visit. He has a piece of wood in his hand, and he's smiling.

He told my mother he loves her. Those were, I think, his last words.

I already miss him so much.


Jason said...

I'm sorry to hear this, Donna. Best wishes to you, your mother, and the rest of your family.

Daniel said...

Dear Donna, my heart is with you. Just this short tribute captured so much and moved me to see a beautiful person surrounded by love. Know that you and your are in my thoughts.

jennifer said...


I'm so sorry. Nice tribute, however. You are in my thoughts.

Jen Roberts

JB said...

We're so sorry to hear of your loss, Donna. Our thought and prayers are with you and your family.

Jenny and Thomas

Krista said...

Sending thoughts to you and yours, and marveling at this beautiful post. We'll be in a rather similar life-spot shortly, since my MIL is in the end stages of kidney failure. I hope we'll be able to remember her as beautifully as you remember your dad here.

cbd said...

One can only hope for last words as important. Godspeed.

dhawhee said...

Oh dear Donna, this is such a sad post. warmest wishes. debbie

Billie said...

Oh, Donna. I'm so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

chris said...

The Wood Chippers! I'd like to see that picture, too.

Many thoughts are with you.

Nels said...

Oh, so sorry. It's been a bad year for our parents.

Rebecca Moore Howard said...

What a handsome man he was, and how very loved. Rest in peace, Travis Houston Strickland. And much love to you, Donna.

Anonymous said...

My heart-felt condolences, Donna. So sorry.

dmueller said...

Very sorry to hear this, Donna. You have our heartfelt sympathies.

Juanita said...

What a handsome navy man! I love that you posted this picture.

Having just lost my dad in December, I know of a hurting heart. I keep on my buffet a picture of Dad laughing at his granddaughter's wedding, the way I want to remember him. I hope you get that Wood Chippers picture to display, to remember.

You're in my thoughts.

Marcia said...

Donna, I'm sorry to read of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Allison J. said...

Thinking of you in Carbondale at this difficult time. Sending you love and peace.
Allison J.

Laura M said...

Dearest Donna, I'm so sorry to hear about your father's passing. I love the photo you posted--the way he's posed is amazing: so strong and confident looking. I was listening to the Diane Rehm show today, which was all about the death of one's parents. She had a guest on who was talking about her new book focused on "death benefits." Sounds strange, I know, but you might find the conversation and/or the book valuable...maybe even comforting in some way. love, laura

joanna said...

What a beautiful tribute and what a lucky daughter to have had such a person for a father. I'm holding you in my prayers.

Mike @ Vitia said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Donna. I hope you're OK. Take care.

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