On the road again

If you did not know my dad was talented in a lot of areas.  He could sing, write poetry, storytell and play guitar with the best.  Many of you do not know he had a PHD in geology from West Virginia University.  He was a rock doc, who loved to share his craft with the world.  Today we started our three day trip back to McKinney for the memorial service on Saturday.  As we a driving through the mountains of West Virginia my thoughts are on my dad and the many “rock stops” we would take to look at the fault lines in the road cuts. As a look out the window I can imagine my father investing in us on each trip we took.  Keep us in your prayers as we travel as a family. You can picture now what it looks like 8 adults 6 kids in 3 cars driving a few thousand bumpy roads.  We are realizing with each passing mile.  Our lives will never be the same yet it is beginning to feel as if we are starting to take the steps of recovery as a family. Keep us in your prayers only two days to go until we are reunited at home.

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Coach of the year

Last night we had a service at Sagamore beach to applaud the life of whale.  This blog has become a lifeline to my Dad.  In our cape house there is a table in the kitchen that my dad would sit at and plan his day.  Each morning we gather around the same table and plan our day.  It the midst of planning one of us will open the computer and began to read aloud with tears and laughter the whale tales you have shared with us and the world.  We are astounded by all the layers there was to my dad.

The days that pass are surreal.  Each of us will pause for a moment as we try to go back to a somewhat “normal” life, and think that my dad will walk, no waddle, around the corner at that moment.  Last night we were telling stories fully expecting him to open the door and stop us.  It is as if we all are waiting for this bad dream to end.

Growing up in McKinney my dad was my youth soccer coach.  He was one of the best coaches I ever had, but we only won 4 games in 4 years.  Even so the games were always fun, and I can still remember the special positions he created so each person got a turn.  There was the middle man, the monster man, the circle man, and rover.  He knew how to make a boy feel like they were the best player in the world. He knew how to make a person feel like they were unique.  As a team, we were inspired to take on the world.

This morning I realized he is watching us from heaven, coaching us all as we go.  He has given each family member and friend a funny name, a special task, or a story to share.  In the memorial service yesterday I shared through tears that I will miss my dad most because my sons will never get to know him.  But I had realized that each son or daughter of whale has become taken on the best parts of my dad.  Kari has taken on his leadership and inspirational skills. Lead on Kari.  Kijsa is able to put on paper the beauty and wonder of our world. Kijsa keep painting the dreams and hopes of dad.  Whitney is able to express the thoughts of my dad through arts like drama and writing. Whitney continue to inspire the world with the drama of life.  Stephen has become the student and scientist, always question and challenge in the search for truth.  Stephen continue to search in honor of dad.  I have been given his name, and if you are junior or senior you understand the bond that this brings to us all.  We are the team that he has inspired to take on the world together.  What are you going to do today to take on the world, and inspire others?  Allow my dad to live on in your actions.

Stone by stone

Each year my family packs up their bags and heads to Cape Cod for a few weeks.  It is an incredible getaway from “normal” life and a time to be a family. The running family joke is that my dad was always working on a project.  In McKinney, he was determined to paint the house.  The problem was it took him several years to work his way all the way around the house, and when he got there it was time to start again.  When he came to the Cape it did not change. We would be on the beach or shopping at the Christmas Tree Store and my dad would be sweating away on a project back at the boat house. I have a feeling that running joke (or responsibility) just got passed to me.   The last project he was working on was a slate porch.  He was raising the level and fixing it stone by stone.  Today Stephen, Brad and I started to finish this last project of his in memory of him.  Through tears I dropped the last stone in place and turned to look at the ocean.  My dad would be proud.  There is still a little work to finish the project, but all the stones are laid and in place.  It is much like his life and passing.  As we read comments from students, friends, and family we realize there were so many building stones to this man.  He was constantly making a legacy for us to follow in, and he was doing it stone by stone.  My father was a great geologist, and rocks were his life.   He has polished, molded, cared for and chipped at us all our lives to turn us all into better people.  He did not limit this to family, I can feel it in the words you all write.  The world was a better place because my father was here.  Tomorrow we will finish the porch, but for now i stand in awe of the stones he laid before me. It was his stone laying that not just built the porch, it also built our family. It was his stone laying that will be the foundation for my future.  I miss my Dad, but I hold on to the stone path before me, because I know that path leads me closer to God.

Words of wisdom from a child

This morning my nephew Denton sent out an email to a friend.  We knew he was sending it what we did not know is the power of the words he would send out.  They were so strong we wanted to share them with all of you.

I know some of you knew my grandpa, Gigi was in the hospital. I don’t know how to say this, but 7:45pm on July 25, 2008 was the last time I saw him alive. Some of you may have experienced this before, so you know how it feels. When he was in a coma yesterday, I made him a promise: that I would take care of my grandma. Today, I honored that promise. My Nana gave me my Gigi’s cap and told me to wear it today, and to take care of her. I wear the cap with pride. Above all, please pray for our family to be able to move on without him. He was the best grandpa anyone could ever have.

You guys are awesome,
Denton

As whale would say, “He is a boy beyond his years.”  Please pray for our family as we celebrate the life of our father on the beach he loved tomorrow night at 7:00pm.  We will then travel cross country for the 3 day drive home to McKinney.  It will be the great family road trip my father always was looking for.

A memory shared

My dad is gone, the thought brings tears just to write his name.  Mark Whitehead Presley, Sr. was a great man.

Last night was a tough night. The five children and my mom sat around the room and shared memories of our father, as the he journeyed to meet God. It is like a dream. I feel like I am going to wake up and my dad will be there calling me a dorky son. My dad is in a better place. He has left our hands to join God hand in hand in heaven, but he has not left our hearts.

We came back to our house on Cape Cod at 5am to be greeted by one of the best sunrises I have witnessed. It has been pouring here for 4 days, and then when he is finally gone the sun comes out to warm our souls. We do not know what the days ahead will hold, but we know we leave the Cape this year are changed not by what we witnessed, but by what God has brought us through.

If you never knew my dad you missed out. A man once told me that my dad never met a stranger, another said he was never without a smile. He was a man that left you with a memory at each meeting. He served in so many ways. He was a dad, a friend, a mentor, a husband, a friend, a teacher, and a follower of Christ. The fact that hundreds of you have let us know how he changed you is testimony to his life. His personality was larger than life, yet his heart was overflowing personally into each relationship. He will be missed, but he will be remembered by even more. His impact will not just be felt this week but for generations to come. We are all better people because he was and will continue to be part of our lives.

We are going to hold a small service on the beach at Sagamore beach here in Cape Cod. This was one of his favorite places and it is fitting to say goodbye here before we move on. If you are close to saggy beach and would like to say goodbye with us, the service will be at Sunday at 7pm. Even if you can’t make it here we could use your prayers as we give our dad the honor he more than deserves. We will also hold a larger memorial service next Saturday in McKinney, Texas. We will send out information via this blog and all are invited. Please keep us in your prayers as we pack up our belongings and head home for the summer with out one less family member, but hearts overflowing with memories of my dad. This is not the end it is only the next chapter. That is how he would want it, not to give up but to press on towards the Father.

A life well lived

Early this morning,  my father went to be with the Lord.  After many hours of prayer, singing and scripture reading,  he took a last breath and made the final step into heaven.  We stand here in awe of the legacy this man has left.  Today we mourn the passing of a great man, but we celebrate the life of of a man that has reached all over the world.  Wherever you are today be it Boston, McKinney, Kentucky, Latvia, Ireland, or the far ends of the earth take a moment to share with someone the good news of His life.  Well done good and faithful servant, you have lived a life well lived.  

 

We are all very thankful for the outpouring of support.  Please continue to pray for our entire family, as we move into the unknown.  We appreciate all of your thoughts and have shared them with hundreds here in the hospital and around the world.  Together we are doing what my father would want, telling stories that will inspire us to walk closer with God each day.  We will keep you informed of the steps we will take from here, but for now let us join across the world in a round of applause for one the greatest men I have ever known.  He was a poet, a teacher, an inspiration, and the best dad a child could want. I can only hope to be the giant he was and is.  I am honored to be a son of Whale…

The Pyramid

It is with a heavy heart and a peace beyond understanding that I write this post.  The final test was negative.  Dr. Mark, whale, Little dad, Pop or as I called him my Dad is in a deep coma, with no clinical way of waking up.  The test confirmed the stroke is in the “wake up” portion of his brain stem, and tears filled the room as we realized the choice before us.  We are not sure how many hours or days he has left, but we do know his legacy will live on in each of us.  Please keep us in your prayers as we celebrate the life of man who lived life better than anyone I know.

We can use your help. First please pray for all of us, but specifically for my mother, Anne.  The road before us has been walked by many of you, yet we all as individuals must walk it ourself hand in hand with God.  The Second request begins with a confession.  This blog was started as a joke to tell my dad I love him as the quirky man he was, but over the past few days it has transformed as voice for me to share the family pain and sorrow with all of you.  For 1 year he was my only reader, besides one of my siblings looking at it randomly or a random 5th grader doing a research paper on whales.  Yesterday my blogged received over 5,000 hits.  This is a statement to the impact my dad had on the world around him.  Each night we have read your comments and prayers to him, and we would like to do that today and tonight.  Please take moment and leave a comment for us to celebrate my dad.

My dad told me a story once of how our family was a pyramid.  Each person played a part in keeping the family unit together, but my father was at the very tip of the pyramid.  One day on a walk he realized that if he was gone the pyramid would collapse.  It was the fork in the road to begin preparing each of us for this day.  Over the few years past year he has told and showed us he loved us all, he has made preparations none of realized, and he let all of you know how special you are in God’s eyes.  48 hours before his death he visited with each of his kids and grandkids in person and told them he loved them.  He even spent a quiet moment at 3am with Eli (my son) the newest minnow to the family.   He made sure that pyramid would always remain even if his earthly body does not.  My father is the greatest man I know.

God may still save him, but as a family we are united in saying we will praise God even if he does not.

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