Edit ModuleShow Tags

Amazing Grace


Published:

(page 1 of 3)

My father, Ragon Flannery, died in my arms in a San Diego hospital bed. He left behind a body beaten, broken and bruised from a decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s. He also left a legacy that’s been handed down to a family that loved and cared for him until he took his final breath.

“The Rev,” as so many of his church members and friends called him, was born a Kentucky hillbilly and raised on discipline, compassion and bluegrass music. His mother played banjo. His sister dated Bill Monroe. It doesn’t get more bluegrass than that. He also was raised on love and was taught to treat others with dignity and grace—be it the man in a $600 suit or the homeless man looking for a handout. He ministered at churches all over the country, but Anaheim is where we spent 20 years, and where I grew up.

I could talk at length about the last few years of his life. The changes that started taking place that we all noticed—and he noticed for a time, too. I could tell the stories of his last grueling year, stories only caregivers can understand, or believe. It was a year during which we watched helplessly as he slipped deeper and deeper into the black hole of Alzheimer’s. Finally, surrendering, we placed my father in a home for Alzheimer’s patients, a place where professionals could try their best to help him.

Instead of telling you about the horrors of the disease, I want to tell you about the miracles. Sure, 1999 became the hardest year of my life. I cried plenty. But in the middle of all the madness, there were incredible lessons and unbelievable gifts.

Spending the final days of my father’s life with him, I learned what it was like to change his diaper, to hold him up as we took baby steps, to bathe him. I gave back to him those gifts he had given me, and in doing this I felt the power of the circle of life. It would change my views forever about life and about death.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

The Ultimate San Diego Summer Guide 2017

Take this season to the next level with our annual roundup of the top beach barbecues, pool parties, concerts, outdoor movies, and more

The Man Behind San Diego's $26 Billion Company

Will Illumina's new hotshot CEO be able to lead the San Diego genomics giant into the complex world of clinical care?

This UCSD Professor Is Using Science to Make Cheese Taste Better

Assistant professor Rachel Dutton is elevating cheese in the unlikeliest of places—a science lab
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Jason Mraz Is Growing Coffee on a Farm in Oceanside
    We spoke to the musician about all the whys — why food, why farming, why Oceanside, why coffee?
  2. San Diego's Best Restaurants 2017
    The top tacos, chicken wings, seafood, burgers, kid-friendly eateries, breweries, and more
  3. 10 Scenic Hikes Within an Hour of San Diego
    You’ve mastered all the trails in your area—now plan a Saturday to get outside for a hike and enjoy the views just a bit farther afield
  4. The Man Behind San Diego's $26 Billion Company
    Will Illumina's new hotshot CEO be able to lead the San Diego genomics giant into the complex world of clinical care?
  5. Celebrating Women: Shanna Missett Nelson
    Like a good dancer, the Jazzercise president has mastered her balance—of career, family, and life
  6. San Diego's Best Boutique Fitness 2017
    We've sweated through the top yoga, barre, Pilates, and boot camp classes, and are rounding up our favorites
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

9 Reasons You Need a Better Barber

Get the look and service you deserve at this East Village salon

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags