On the Road Again

Dad always had a travelin’ jones. He loved maps, highways, vacations, travel. It was an itch that could only be scratched with a road trip.

As Dad lay dying, he asked the logistical questions one asks when preparing for a journey. What time is it? Can we drive through for barbeque? Where are my children? 

And, yesterday, he asked his son, Dr. Toby:

“Am I dying?” 

Toby replied, “You are getting closer.”  

There is a calm before the storm, a stirring before death, a longing to go, to leave this place that has provided so much heartache and laughter.

Last night a storm blew in with high winds and hail. Dad had the wits about him to ask us to pull all the cars beneath the protective roof of his carport. The winds and rain came and then the calm.

after the storm

Dad was tired. His body worn out. Dad was packing his bags. He asked Terri to sing so we sang Blessed Assurance and I Know the Lord Will Find a Way for Me, because it gave us comfort and for brief moments, his eyes would open in recognition of those songs as he tried to sing. 

We knew Dad was knee-deep in the Jordan. This morning at 2:00 am he dove into the depths of that mysterious river and left his battered and bruised body behind. 

I watched my brother Toby stroke his head. Greg wept and did the same. To bid goodbye to one who has known you since birth and handed you the keys to cars and extended blessings in life and passed along genetic code to the enigma of ourselves…well, it hits you between the eyes, even though you know it is coming. 

We surrounded Dad and prayed. I thanked God for the memory of gathering in an unlikely place, the bedroom of our Dad and Mom. This, strangely enough, was the church of our family. We often gathered in the bedroom of our parents to sing and pray in the evenings for family devotionals when we were pajama clad kids. 

The circle had been completed. We returned to this place where so many prayers had been prayed and so many songs had been sung. 

At midnight Dad was restless. Mom attended to him. Dad was mumbling and she tried to understand. Dad said, “Do you have three hands?”

Mom said, “Pretty sure, no. Both of my hands are touching you here.” 

Dad replied, “I feel a third hand on the other side.” Maybe it was the hand of Jesus. Or perhaps just that old longing to get in the car and drive. 

Mom went back to sleep. My brother called at 1:55 and said that Dad was passing. Those who knew him knew that at any moment he might break into a verse of that Willie Nelson song, On the Road Again. We came quickly…but he was not waiting for us. He was traveling. On the road, just like he sang to so many caretakers who put him in his wheelchair.

What a life! What a moment! What a journey that is just now beginning!

I miss him.

I love you Papa. Thanks for leaving behind a map and a flashlight and a car full of gas. I’ll see you down the road in a little while. 

your son


26 thoughts on “On the Road Again

  1. What an immeasurably amazing life you all must have all had around him for all these years, treasure the memories, so glad yall were together and he was at peace. Hang in there, tell your family hello for me and my heart felt assurance he’s home and at rest.

    David Padgett

    1. thanks for sharing and glad y’all were together. Hugs to the whole Taylor clan. So many great memories.

  2. Great story and sentiments, Brent. I so want to be with you, your siblings, Aunt Charlotte and all of Terrel’s legacies soon.

  3. So sorry for your family’s loss. What a beautiful tribute. And while he was a great builder of homes, I think his best build was his family. Prayers for all.

  4. So sorry to hear of your dad’s passing, Brent. I didn’t know him, but it sounds like he was a great father. I pray for peace and comfort for you and your family at this time.

    Mary Ann and Alex Candelori

  5. Oh my, Brent….if we could all only write our own earthly ending, it would be one just like your dad’s. Peace, calm, songs, longing, prayers, all bound in love with a spouse and children surrounding us. What a sweet journey you all provided your father — he was a wonderful, Godly man who shared so much with others! Love to you all!

  6. Thank you Brent for that lovely tribute. I love your parents, they are special people. My first thought after I read this is, now Terrel has a huge new group of people to tell his stories to!!. I know he will be missed. Gods peace and comfort to all the family now

  7. What a legacy he leaves. The lives of his children are a powerful witness to the goodness that resided in this man. What a blessing it must be to have him as your earthly father. My prayers are with you all as you make your way in this world without his steady presence, sense of humor and wisdom. May God bless you all with continual peace and light.

  8. You have always been a master of words. Today you put into perfect words the journey of your daddy’s going home. What a beautiful tribute and so much love was shown. Luke and I will keep you and the the family in the days ahead. God’s love and peace go with you.

  9. So sorry to hear about your dad passing Greg. My prayers are with you and your family. May God give you peace and comfort during this time.

  10. It’s amazing how it’s that those who hope in the Lord leave us with a glimpse of that connection at their death. Thanks for this description of our father and brother’s forefront journey that we all have ahead of us. My love to you’ll!

  11. Beautifully said Brent. You’re all continuing on the road, without him, but he’s in your hearts, and it’s only for awhile till you all get to be together again. God rest his soul and give you all peace and comfort as you deal with your loss of sweet Terrel. With love and hugs, Ron & Marilyn

    1. I always would get a little more excited to see tarrel at a soccer game in BrokenArrow where we went to see a grandson play because it ment I was going to get to talk cars with a good buddy. I loved to but and sell cars as he did and rebuild wrecks. Once he asked me to come to work for him and manage a body shop in back of his car lot .In a way I wish that would have happened. Would have been great to have been with him.God bless BobS.

  12. Thank you for the blessing of allowing us into this incredible time for your family. Know you are loved. Know you are blessed. When we all get to heaven; what a day of rejoicing that will be! All our love, George & Sue.

  13. Absolutely beautiful Brent. Love to you, Terri, Debbie, Toby and Greg. What a fabulous family your father made. Love & hugs to you all and your sweet mother. Lanette Roby Woodard and the Young Family from B’ville

  14. Thanks for a beautiful description of our emotional journey. So thankful for loving family and friends making this time a blessed one. Beautiful description of God’s hand in all we do. Love, mom

  15. Brent, in the year we were in the Dewey church family we were welcomed by your parents so many times. At Easter that year we were staying home and your mom said we shouldn’t be alone, we needed to come to your house. We always felt like family there and your family was so special to us. You will all be in our thoughts and prayers. We will all have a great time singing and having fun with your dad when we get to heaven!!

  16. Brent ~ Such a precious tribute for such an amazing man! I’m sure Terrel and Duane are having a Homebuilders meeting accompanied with a bowl of ice cream… or getting a Rook tournament started!!! So many fond memories of our two families joined together by faith and sweet life-long friendships!! Sending much love and many prayers for your entire family and all who loved him!!!

  17. I am saddened to hear of your families deep lose.
    I met you Father several times at Garnett Church and The Journey.
    I could tell by his eyes and grin that you guys were blessed. The evidence of his being was witnessed in the good heart of Greg.
    Isn’t it a comfort to know who we are, whose we are, and where we’re going?

  18. What a life indeed! Thankful for all of you, Taylor family, and the living our families have shared. So many memories and so many blessings. May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you and bring you peace. Holding you close in my heart.

  19. You and your family have our love and thoughts at this difficult time. My God bless you and and give you peace. JoAnne and Don Brown

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