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.

More »Related Stories

Sessionable Beers

Let's make it a sesh!

How to Start a Badass Beer Cellar

Local and non-local beers that may be aged up to 10 years and beyond

Beer Pastries

From ale brownies to Guinness cookies, here are four sweet ways to satisfy dessert and craft beer cravings in one.

Most Popular

  1. The Best Restaurants in San Diego 2014
    From happy hours to hotel bistros, it's our annual (reader-selected!) picks for the best eats in town
  2. After the Rescue: The Kaufman Family Speaks
    After the rescue: the Kaufman family speaks
  3. Del Mar Opening Day Party
    Join San Diego Magazine and Morgan Run Club & Resort to celebrate Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day in style
  4. Best Restaurants Kick-Off Party
    Celebrate the Best Restaurants issue with an evening of delectable bites from the 2014 winners
  5. Food Blogger Favorites
    From fish tacos to focaccia, eight San Diego foodies share their favorite dishes around town.
  6. FIRST LOOK: The Patio on Goldfinch
    The Patio on Goldinch opens in Mission Hills with twin plant walls, aiming for LEED certification.

Promotions

Best of Ensenada 2013

Where to eat, drink, sleep & play

Hawaii: Island Fresh

A handy guide to Hawaii's farmers markets

Connect With Us: