Richard Nathan Stone, Sr.
March 1921 - April 2009
I jokingly say that for the first years of my life I thought my Father's name was DamnYankee. That's all my Grandmother ever called him. I was almost grown before I knew that was two words, and it was not his name. Some of that was his fault. Richard decided about a week after I was born that he was not father material, and he left. The marriage was officially over before I was a year old, and so, apparently, was Richard's interest in his first born.
For the next 62 years of my life, except for a one day visit when I was 21, I never saw him. His abandonment went so far as to cancel a trip to his mother's house when he found out I would be there. I was 15. I can tell you that I am the poster child for why the most precious gift a mother can give her daughter is a Daddy who is part of her life..
In November, 2005, the week that my Daddy died, I received an email from Chet Stone saying he had seen a post on a genealogical message board asking about descendants of George and Anna Stone of Ohio, and he thought we were first cousins. We are."Any male can be a father. It takes a special man to be a Daddy." Unk.
After a few months of emails, Chet asked me if I had any contact with "Uncle Dick", and my answer was, "No, and I have no interest in one .". He persisted that I needed to contact my father, and I finally told Chet I felt that I had a brother, and probably a sister, out there somewhere, and I was willing to contact them, if he knew how. He did.
In April, 2006, I went to Talmo, Georgia to meet with my father and my brother, Rick. It was scary. I have to admit, I stayed in a motel, just so I would have a bolt hole if things did not go well. They did.
We had a long 'sit down', and came to the conclusion that we could not change the past, just the future. I was very clear that I could never call him Daddy, because I had a Daddy, and it wasn't him. I finally realized that what happened in 1943-44 was not my fault. I could see that he was not the cocky, dashing young Army Air Corp pilot my mother married; he was just a sick old man without much time left. I found out I not only had a brother, but a beautiful sister.
In 2007, Pop came to Daytona Beach to live with my sister, Pam. She was kind enough to let me visit several times in Daytona, and to let me bring him to Ft. Lauderdale for a couple of weeks at the time. We took the opportunity to get closer. What a blessing! I would not change a minute of this time of healing.
In April, 2009, Pop's health deteriorated to the point that he had to be put in hospice care. I went to Daytona the weekend after Easter, and after seeing his condition, decided to stay a few days. Early Monday morning, Pam received a call that we needed to come quickly. When we got there, Pop knew us, if little else. He did tell us that there were angels in the room, and he was not afraid. He died with a daughter on either side, holding his hands, praying for his journey ahead.
My father left me with a deeper understanding of the peace forgiveness brings, not only to the one who is forgiven, but to the one who forgives. He gave me an opportunity to heal old wounds. He acknowledged me as his daughter. He gave me a sister and a brother. He brought sunshine, after years of darkness. He was a blessing.