I’d like for you all to meet Stevie Smith. This was him in 2008, when he was tons healthier than he is now.
He was born in Russellville, Alabama, the youngest of twelve children. He has six sisters (two are deceased) and two brothers (one is deceased. Rest In Paradise Uncle Bobby, Aunt Betty, and Aunt Linda Carol. I miss them). Until her death on July 26th, 2012, Steve helped provide loving care for his dear mother until she died, at her home, surrounded by her kids and most of her 100 grandkids, great-grandkids, and great-great-grandkids.
A God-fearing man, he sings in the church men’s choir and has acted as a trustee. He and my mother are the ones who introduced me to New Testament Baptist Church, the church I currently attend with my family. They made a wise decision planting roots there.
As a child I remember him working diligently for GM. He wanted to make sure that his family had everything he did not. My grandmother, Aggie Smith, Rest in Paradise, did an AMAZING job with the little she had. This woman could do MAGICAL things in the kitchen! She made the best potato salad you could ever taste. I loved being in her very presence, because she came into her fullest element when she was cooking. She was always happy to be in the kitchen and happy to be surrounded by her family. Although her life had not been easy, raising twelve kids basically on her own, she did so with grace.
Although he is a man, my dad is just as graceful. He worked for 34 years at GM, sometimes seven days a week, to make sure my mother could stay home with my sister and I until we were both in school full day. All throughout my life, we have lived in safe neighborhoods, driven good cars, had healthy food, went to good schools, had presentable clothes, and had luxuries such as vacations and plenty of toys and books. Now, I am not downplaying my mother’s contribution one bit, but my dad took his job as head of his household and primary breadwinner VERY seriously.
I have never heard him complain about being a man and doing what a man is supposed to do.
In return for his 34 years of hard work and dedicated service, GM covered up the fact that the plant my dad worked in had asbestos. Now, instead of enjoying his retirement, going on vacations with my mom, going golfing with his sons-in-law or bowling on his bowling team, he spends most of his days on his oxygen machine, as the asbestos, combined with sarcoidosis, wreaks havoc on his lungs.
Thanks a lot GM.
I am in a mood right now, probably because I am right here at his house and I am watching him as I type. An anger is burning up inside me and I want someone to pay. The past and current CEO of GM are probably somewhere sitting pretty while hard-working people like my dad are suffering. Of course he is not the only person to have been affected by this. Some of his former co-workers even died from respiratory illnesses that we now think are related to the asbestos exposure.
I can do nothing more right now than ask for prayers for my dad. Of course everything happens for a reason and I am at the point of asking God (respectfully) what is to come of all of this. I have dreams of my dad being there for my kids’ graduations and such. I know that is not necessarily guaranteed even if he was 100% healthy, but I suppose I’d have more confidence that it was a possibility if not for these lung issues. It’s scary to see your big, strong father struggling to breathe.
And I should request prayers for myself too. I need to release the anger.