David’s Finest Hour

A few days ago I wrote about all the goodness my brother David brought to me at an otherwise terrible time in my life, my father’s suicide I am so grateful to David. However, as I think back over David’s life I feel his best moments might be around an extremely difficult time for him.

David was a federal employee working in a branch of the government right next to the White House. I think his department reviewed the proposals generated by the Executive Branch of the U.S. government. It was a very important job he did well. I only remember one complaint he ever got in his job. It was that from time to time he refused to sign off on a proposal he thought was poorly presented or poorly thought out.

David had to retire when he suffered bleeding in his brain. In time he moved back to the San Diego to move in with Ruthie the youngest member of our family.

Ruthie has a long record of boarding women who had no place to live. The women were never charged. Some of these woman had small children. If God ever gives you a chance to meet Ruthie do not miss it. She is a great lady and completely unpretentious. I should say I might be the only one who calls her Ruthie. That is because to me she will always be my lovely little sister.

By the time I am writing about David was pretty strokie. Speech came hard for him and he was limited on one of his sides. Despite all that he made trips by himself across the country and many other challenging things like that. David and Ruthie communicated surprisingly well.

When I came down with my family from the LA area he was wonderful to my four girls. The last time my kids remembered how much they love him was literally about 48 hours ago. Back when he was healthy and came to see us he tended to find a time he could talk to each of my four girls one on one.

When I saw him after his stroke I would ask him about his kids. He immediately responded with love. For example I might say” How is Shelly doing”? He couldn’t say all the things that were in his heart because of his medical problems. He said what he could say “Good girl. Good girl” very intentionally and clearly” and with a kind of glow of love he go when he thought about his fully grown children. He responded the same when I asked him about Jess or Tom.

While David was living with Ruthie I was working at Union Rescue Mission In Los Angeles. The Union Rescue Mission facility was right next to what was then The Roman Catholic Cathedral. The Catholic leadership of Los Angeles and I were good friends. They always made me feel like they appreciated and valued the work I did.

When The holy Father John Paul came to LA he stayed at the Cardinal’s living quarters. The Catholics made it possible for the Pope to personally bless me. That blessing was one of the most overwhelming spiritual events of my life. That is another story I put on my website decades ago.

The next time we went down to visit our San Diego family I told David about the Pope blessing me. He was very attentive.

When I was through with my story he was trying to say something to me. He wanted to say it so badly he was struggling to get the words out. Ruthie came to our rescue. She said He wanted to tell me that yes the Pope is a great man but he thought I was also a great man.

I remember that experience vividly. To the exhausted person I was after a couple of decades working on the LA skid row. It was wonderful to have a big brother who believed in me like that.


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