My father, my miracle man,
For those of you who have your DAD around you this Fathers Day, I wanted to remind you that the very best gift you can give him is TIME. Sharing time together is the most precious gift anyone can receive this Fathers Day. So never mind picking out a tie, an ugly sweater or the myriad of things that he can get himself and spend the time with him this Fathers Day. When that time is no longer there, you cannot ever get it back.
My Dad was such an amazing man. There are endless stories that I could share with you about his character, his wit, his integrity, honesty and his spirit but the most outstanding thing I remember about my father is that he is and was a miraculous soul. My dad was a miracle man, as his sister and best friend called him during his last days. I though it was a fitting title to sum up his life as so many profound miracles adorned him throughout his years. His life was full of miracles since the moment he started on his human journey. All of us in life, when we encounter challenges have a choice to make. We can either choose faith or fear at every turn and dad always chose faith and believed In the power of the mind that makes the body can heal the body and all things natural. He had faith that there are healing powers in prayer and natural cures from the land and that if putting the two together, nothing could stop him and miracles were a plenty.
My dad was born in Flag mount Feakle, Currackyle, a tiny spot in the mountains of Western Clare in Ireland way above the lakes and ocean. I guess he learned about miracles this from his mother first off, when dad was only a baby he was accidentally dropped into a pot of gruel or porridge that was boiling for hours over an open fire pit in his home in the country. He was burned all over his body, “to the bone” as dad would put it. His mother quickly made a plaster of flower, clay and healing herbs and remedies from the earth and covered him from head to toe. He learned as an infant to have trust and faith in the healing process of his body. His parent’s faith that he would heal with no scars, no doctors and no visit to the hospital would be his first miracle. Only a tiny patch where mom would check the healing from time to time. “Where she let in the air,” he would say, the only spot I got is where the air hit it.
Dad got very sick around 14 years of age and was hospitalized in the remote area of his birthplace. I was surprised to hear about it just recently before his passing since in around 1942 there wouldn’t be a lot going into a hospital that would ever come out of one where he was from. The neighbors would send their condolences if they heard of the horse and carriage headed to the hospital with any child in it. He had a full recovery of coarse.
Miraculous journey- dad stayed working on wet bog roads before he was of age by giving his older brothers name to be accepted for work before he was of proper age to work. He wanted to earn all he could for his family and knew he had to start early in life. He farmed and worked the land till he was 25 and set sail to America. He remembered how lonely it was when the lights faded into nothing as the boat pulled away from the only place he knew, his home. He of coarse never thought he would make it back there and didn’t dream of flying on airplanes and having a beautiful family here in The United States but all happened and the dark, lonely sail from Ireland opened a whole new life for him. I sometimes think of that story as I think of the time that he closed his eyes and sailed away to heaven from the place he knew here on earth with his family and I have the Faith that he is in a new beautiful place beyond words to explain.
When he arrived to America he was greeted by family and lived with his sister for many years while her Clan grew and grew. He was always so proud and grateful for the time with all of them and loved to visit his brothers, nieces, nephews, aunt and cousins all in the OLPH Parrish that was then part of Bay Ridge and now Sunset Park.
When Dad met my mom, he knew she was the one right away, she needed some time but eventually they both agreed that they would share the rest of their lives together. Dad fell very ill before their wedding with stomach ulsers, it was so bad that they had to take out ¾ of his stomach at the time and he nearly died. He was in the hospital for months, became immeciated. They tapped his lungs and left him in the cold for hours upon hours before his surgery. He never understood how he lived through it. He was unable to keep his promise to marry mom, as he lay dying in the hospital. No one thought he would recover and he told mom to find someone else and leave him. After her wedding shower, mom returned the gifts since she knew there wouldn’t be a wedding at that time. She hoped a wedding would happen but wasn’t entirely sure.Well she chose to have faith and stuck by his side and together their faith helped heal him completely in time for a beautiful spring wedding. Dad would always laugh about having to pay for 2 weddings- “a double indemnity” he would chuckle. “I had to be sure I was staying, I paid for her twice” She loved that story too.
My sister, myself, Mom & Dad moved to Bay Ridge from Sunset Park when I was 2 years old. Dad used to be a heavy smoker and probably smoked 2-3 packs a day. That along with being a Ground Hog, building what would become the Red hook tunnels in Brooklyn took a great toll on his breathing. He wanted to quit and couldn’t Every time he would throw a pack out, he would run out and get another one. I can remember back when I was around 5 or 6 years old and I woke up to a smell of smoke in the house. Dad fell asleep while watching TV with a cigarette burning. That cigarette burned the rug and the couch while he slept and could have taken his and all of our lives. That was it. It was basically him or the cigarettes according to Mom and he was equally fed up and the thoughts of what could have happened couldn’t leave his mind. Now during this time, you have to remember there was no patch, no gum, no Chantix or anything besides will power and of coarse Faith that he would one day break free from his habit.
His brother Danny told him of some faith healers and dad went off to get healed of smoking after one visit to the healer. His faith healed him of this addiction right on the spot. He never looked back. He knows of coarse that in those moments with the healer, it was his mind and his thinking about the hold the cigarettes had on him had changed forever.
When I was a little older, Dad developed debilitating back pains and when the doctors told him there is nothing more they Can do and he would be living the rest of his life in a wheelchair, he turned to alternative medicine. Chiropractic care and acupuncture cured him and he went on to work many years after that with no pain at all and walked up until his very last days in the hospital.
He would always say there is nothing like the natural cures and so when I told him I wanted to drop out of college and become a massage therapist he was taken for a loop. At first he had to wrap his head around how would anyone pay you for that and then he gave his blessing, as his faith was so great that would defy all logic and understanding. Thank goodness that worked out as we are approaching almost 20 years in business helping our amazing community and helping people change their lives each and every day.
When he was diagnosed with COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Silicosis is a thickening and hardening of the Alveoli many years back, he had tried all sorts of inhalers and Eucalyptus oil steam treatments. The doctors would want to take more and more tests and dad again would say “well of coarse they’ll find something if they keep looking- that’s why we never had them tests in my time.” In late 2010 we started taking tests and in 2011 along with his lung disease, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung, Lymph Node and Prostate Cancer. We were told to get his affairs in order and that he did not have any time left- 3 months would be tops. With his faith in natural healing and alternative, some times “over the top” alternative cures, traveling to Germany for hypothermia treatments and with weekly acupuncture and medical massage therapy, an arsenal of essential oils, mustard chest treatments and even onions under the bed, he lived a full and pain free life until December of 2014.
After his Lung Cancer diagnosis, he would be on the phone with his sister in Ireland and she would ask how he was feeling. Dad would always smile and say “Good, well they tell me I have Cancer but I don’t feel a thing, Ah Sure, they have to tell ya something, their getting paid aren’t they! I just have some shortness of breath that’s all.” The doctors would say things like Cancer, COPD, Silicosis, Lung Disease and all Dad would say till his very last day, “just shortness of breath, its not too bad.” Anyone who is suffering from smoking related lung disease knows it is much more than shortness of breath.
Over his the last few weeks with me, dad taught me how to live as you say, how to be impeccable with my word and how to have Faith in this beautiful miracle we get to share together for a short time called Life. The time we share together is the most precious gift and during the gift of time we shared together, he always showed me how to live to be a better person than I could have ever hoped to be without him in my life, how to leave this beautiful earth better than he found it and that the miracle letting go of this life with dignity and Faith is a lesson I take with me through my lifetime. When I think things are challenging, I simply think back and ask My Miracle man for advice in my quiet moments and the answer is always the same. Have faith, keep your head up, keep smiling, enjoy yourself, don’t worry about nothing and God is Good.
Every nurse and doctor that would poke and prod at him would get a “thank you” and a “not doing too bad.” He would always say, “Be good to those who persecute you and calumniate you”- I still don’t know the meaning of that word but my family and I sure have a great time laughing about it! He was always so good to those who hurt him, it seemed that it just made him a better man.
He was a living angel and his faith took him on his final journey home to God, but he did not take this journey alone. His last and final miracle on this earth and as he started on his journey to God, he took his precious niece’s hand and they held each other as they started on their new journey to heaven together on the very same night- just 2 hours apart. He was so humble; he didn’t even need to have his own day. He always said God would be god to take her didn’t want her to suffer so when he had the chance, he took her by the hand so neither of them would be alone and they both took that final journey together. Happy Fathers Day in heaven Dad, I am celebrating all the moments we had together. Thank you for your time, your lessons and your Faith. I take it with me every step of my journey.
James F Brody is my miracle man.
Written by Sheila Brody