A Tribute to My Father, Walter Ray Nine (08-31-1929 to 02-10-2003)
On the day I was born, I was named, Pamela Rhea Nine. The “Rhea” portion of my name was given to me after my Father, Walter Ray Nine. Everyone knew him as, Ray. I have so many wonderful memories of the times we spent together. He played a major role in my life in many ways and still does in spirit.
My father was a man known for his integrity and kindness. He was very well respected within the community and I can honestly say I don’t know of anyone who had an unkind word to say to, or about him. He was also a very patient and methodical man. Some would even say (jokingly) if you asked him a question, you may have forgotten what it was by the time he finished answering you. In 1940, my grandparents purchased a 92-acre farm. When each of their five children married, they were given a parcel of land on the farm. My grandfather had horses, cattle and chickens and also farmed his land with crops. My father (along with my grandfather) spent many hours teaching me how to ride horses, the importance of taking care of and being connected to the earth, the value of nurturing animals and how to care for our home-grown foods that were planted on the farm.
By trade, my father was a welder. He was also one of those rare men who was able to do everything, whether it was carpentry, plumbing, electrical or just anything that needed to be done. He could also run a mean vacuum cleaner and fold laundry to perfection. I used to joke around with him and say he could go through the grocery store the fastest of anyone I had ever seen, after my mother made out her list. Everyone who knew my father also knows when he went to the grocery store, it sometimes seemed as though he was there for days.
One of my fondest memories of my father was when he was teaching me how to drive. He always had a truck. On one of my first driving lesson outings, I was pulling back into our driveway and I ran into the fence post. I was scared he would really be mad at me. Instead, he just got out and looked at the dent in his front fender and shook his head and said, “next time you’ll have to cut the wheel a little sharper”and smiled his crooked little smile that always warmed my heart. It was a while before I went out driving again but eventually he did take me. I know he is nudging my memories of him when I hear the song “Drive” by Allan Jackson. It played on the radio as I drove home from his funeral, and anytime I hear it now, I know he is nearby.
When he walked me down the aisle to give me away at my wedding, I could feel him trembling next to me. I glanced over at him and at that very moment, I thought I would suffocate from seeing tears roll down his cheek. As long as I live, I will never forget that. It was the only time I ever saw him cry.
In 1994, My father was mowing the grass with his riding lawnmower tractor. There was an embankment behind our house with a creek that ran through it. The bank gave away and the tractor over turned and was falling on top of my father. He pushed it off of him and the mower blades severed both of his thumbs completely and cut his right fore and middle fingers almost in two. My mother called me and when I arrived, I immediately went to the creek and began searching for his thumbs. I found one of them and packed it carefully in ice with the hope it could be reattached. He was flown by helicopter to Jewish Hospital in Louisville, KY for emergency surgery. My first son was almost a year and I was still nursing him. I felt torn but I knew I had to go, so I packed my van and drove my mother and brother to Kentucky to be with my father. We had to stay for days before he could be released and was able to make the drive home. The surgeons were unable to reattach his thumb that I had found due to the extensive tendon damage. They were able to save his fore and middle finger and said his use of them would be uncertain. Both of his hands and arms were bandaged up to his elbows for months. I cared for his wounds, shaved him and took turns feeding him during his healing process. The one thing that stands out most in my mind throughout his entire ordeal is the fact that my father never complained once. Over time, he did regain a great deal of use of his hands. He had a special knob made and attached to his truck steering wheel so he was able to drive again. I was so proud of him for never giving in.
Several years after his tractor accident, he had another bad accident in his truck and suffered head trauma. He then suffered a series of mini strokes and eventually severe dementia associated with the Alzheimer Disease. The last portion of his life was spent in a nursing home. For a lot of the time during his last few months, he was unable to come back to the reality of this world. When I would spend time with him at the nursing home or go get him and take him to my house, I could touch his hands and look into his eyes and bring him back to the man I knew and loved – for a little while. During one of these times, we were sitting outside on the patio. He was quiet for a while and then suddenly he got up and went over to the flower garden and picked a purple iris and handed it to me and said, “here, I know purple is your favorite color and you like these.” When he placed it in my hand, it was all I could do to keep my heart from breaking into a million pieces – because I knew from my recent dreams (at that time) he was going home (to Heaven) very soon. I still have the purple iris he gave me. It’s pressed between the pages of my bible.
On February 10, 2003, I laid down in the afternoon to take a nap. During my nap, I dreamed about my father again. We were walking and I knew in the dream it would be our last walk together. I was awakened by the phone. It was a phone call from his nurse telling me that he wasn’t doing well and I should come. I called my brother and we both went to be with him. I asked to have some time alone with him. He was asleep and semi-unconscious at that point. I sat with him and held his hands and talked to him. I told him it was okay for him to let go and go home to be at peace. He clenched my hand for a brief moment. As I looked at him, I could see his aura energy growing dimer and it appeared to be moving up and away from his body. I also knew intuitively if I stayed by his side, he would not go out of his love and dedication to me. My brother and I talked and decided to go get something to eat to pass some time. We had just left the restaurant when I got the call that he had just died. We went back and I sat with him for a long time. I could feel him there with me, but I could not see him in spirit. This was very difficult for me. I talked to him and told him to send me signs to let me know he was still with me. I knew in my heart I would see and hear him again in time.
On the day of my father’s funeral, I was completely numb. I knew he was there in spirit but I couldn’t get past his physical presence being absent from my life. When I left the grave side ceremony, my boys were going home with their dad. It always seemed they were supposed to be with him when I needed them most. We had received many potted plants and somehow they ended up going home with me. I went home alone and carried all the plants into my kitchen and sat at the table in the chair my father always sat in and prayed and went into a deep meditation. At some point, I remember getting up and going into the garage and bringing pots and garden soil back into the kitchen. I ended up re-potting all of the plants I had brought home from his funeral, along with all the ones I already had . For some reason I felt comforted having my hands in the soil and it made me feel closer to him. My father was there with me and I could see a faint outline of his spirit energy. I don’t even remember doing it, but I laid down on my kitchen floor and slept for hours. When I woke I was still in my clothes from his funeral and it was the next morning. When I got up, I noticed across the room there was something shining in the floor of my family room. I went over to it and there was a dime laying there. I also saw that the photo of my mother and father (from my wedding) was over turned on the book shelf. I had not even been in my family room since the day before my father died. I knew these were the first signs (of many) I would receive from my father.
Something very special between my father and I was him giving me dimes when I was little and all throughout my life. He would give one to me and say it was because I was “just a Nine” and wink at me. He is still giving them to me from Heaven. I find them everywhere and keep them in a special box with the pennies I get from my grandmother.
As I mentioned earlier, the house I grew up in was a part of my grandparents farm. It was located just down the road from my grandparent’s home. I loved my grandmother (Mamaw) with everything I am, and still do. She is who I inherited my gifts from. She is also my Spirit Guardian and she helps me daily in my personal and professional life. I still see and hear her, even though she died in 1992. During the course of my life, when I would be at her house, I could stand at her kitchen window and look down the road and see my father’s truck in the driveway at my house. Her house, in time became mine and was where I lived when I married and had my babies – and I could still see my father’s truck in the driveway at their house. Eventually, I divorced and moved from there and in time ended up purchasing the home I am currently in. I have been a single mother for many years and in 2009, I was like many people also at that time struggling with the downfall of the economy. I was at one point very close to losing my house. One particular day, I was having an emotional time and was in my kitchen standing by the sink. I heard my father say my name. I turned and saw him standing by my refrigerator in spirit. He said, “go look out your window.” I turned to look in the direction of my kitchen window and said “that window?” I then turned to look back at him and he was gone. I walked over to my kitchen window and looked out. My knees literally buckled from what I saw. There in the driveway at a neighbors house, just down from mine, I saw what looked like the last truck my father had before he died. I immediately understood both messages I had been given. This to me was confirmation I was in my home and I would not loose it, and my father was letting me know he is still here with me guiding me and loving me, in spirit. In time, I confirmed with my neighbor the truck had in fact been my father’s before he died in 2003, which would have been six years prior to my neighbor ending up with it in 2009. My father’s truck still sits in my neighbor’s driveway to this day. There are many times, when I drive by his truck and feel very overwhelmed from my missing him, and yet I smile to know this too is one of those wonderful and undeniable signs from Spirit. A sign which validates that my father will always be a part of my life. For this – and him, I am eternally grateful.
Thank you for so many things, Daddy. I love you so much. Keep the light on for me and always know I’m looking forward to having another walk with you one day…
Article: “Windows and Dimes” Copyright © 2011-2017 Pamela Nine. All Rights Reserved.