I am going to talk about my dad tonight. His name is Bishop Martin and he is the love of my life as far as a man goes. I have always loved him but we didn’t really get close until about twelve years ago. I was mad at him for my mother leaving and then I found out that it was not that way at all. They had an agreement but I blamed it on him. I felt bad about it.
He was born in 1935 and he has a total of seven children. I am the next to the youngest and I consider myself to be the black sheep of the family because he made me leave the house at 18. He didn’t make anyone else do that. I sort of started building walls up against my dad when my mom left when I was 14.
When my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer I did this really big self-examination. He came to me first to talk about his cancer and I was shocked. He told me he was getting treated and it was free. And it was free at first since it was a new medicine. It started working and the medicine shrunk the cancer but then they told him that he would have to pay for it.
He came to me and told me that he wasn’t going to get the treatment anymore because he couldn’t afford it. It was like a thousand dollars each time. I cried and I said, “Well, I will pay for it, we can all pitch in and pay for it.” And he said, “No I don’t want you to.” At that time, my kids were still at home. He just refused. He said he did not want to live out his days in diapers.
The miraculous thing about it, in 2009 he just started believing in God and this is exactly what he told me, he got close to God and started going back to church again. He started eating better and wasn’t taking any medicine. He was also diabetic. He would go and get a test and they would tell him Mr. Martin your cancer is shrinking miraculously. He is now 82 years old.
I dream of getting married again, you know, and I told him he couldn’t die until he walked me down the aisle. Now we talk every day and it is an emotional thing because when I was growing up he really didn’t give hugs. He took us out to the park and places way more than mom ever did but like the hugs and stuff I can’t recall any of that.
We hug now. He calls me every day and I call him every day and it is great. All those feelings that I had that were negative towards him were not real. I should have never been thinking of that. What I learned was you should always get the roots of a story before you get a bad feeling or decide to not like something about a person. We have the best relationship now and I am glad he is 82.
Debra Wuliger, figurative artist working with color, texture and pattern to celebrate life.
Image silhouetted with story. Ready for hanging.