The Best There's Ever Been Part 1 - Soapbox, Jr.
As I sit here, it’s Saturday morning/afternoon, July 11, 2020, the day after we laid my father to rest.
I think it goes without saying, that this has been the worst week of my life, bar none. The man I’ve known for 55 years, who, along with my mom, have always been there for me is gone.
We’re still shell-shocked.
I know he’s only gone in the physical sense, I have no doubt that at 9:52 AM on Monday morning on July 6th, dad heard “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” and I know that I will see him again.
The emotional roller coaster this week has been overwhelming. It started at 5:45 AM when mom called me crying and said that I needed to get up to their house right now, that dad was sick. My first thoughts were that somehow - despite not having hugged my parents in over 4 months, and any time I had to be in close proximity to them I was masked - dad had gotten infected with COVID-19.
I quickly drove up to the house and found mom and dad on the upstairs porch and dad was slumped over in his chair, I asked him if he could breathe, he nodded and tried to say yes, but it was obvious that he was very weak.
I called 911, and while I was on with them, mom called dad’s cardiologist and rather than COVID-19, he told mom that he thought he was having a stroke which I relayed to the 911 operator.
The EMTs arrived and got him to the ambulance, and mom stayed at the house, there was some confusion about if we could ride in the back, or not, and I just wanted to be able to get out and get anything if dad needed it.
Dad’s longtime manager, David Corlew, met me at the gate, and he followed me as I hugged the bumper of the ambulance all the way to Summit Medical Center in Hermitage.
We arrived and then someone came out to talk with David and I about dad’s condition.
It wasn’t good. He told us that dad had a massive stroke, and that because of the blood thinner he was on he wasn’t clotting.
Dad had a stroke in 2010 while snowmobiling in Colorado, but made an almost complete recovery, with just a little lingering neuropathy in his fingers on his left hand. But he was still able to perform over 100 dates a year.
He was a machine. I’ve always said that I hope I have half of his energy when I get to be his age.
But back to the present.
He was prescribed a blood thinner as part of his treatment, and it probably kept him from having another stroke for 10 years, that and his pacemaker and in December of 2018 he had cardiac catheter ablation surgery to improve his heart rhythm, which increased his energy even more.
But unfortunately, the blood thinner is what did him in this time. Because his blood wasn’t clotting, the blood kept pouring into his brain stem.
We asked if there was anything, ANYTHING that could be done. He said they could try to reverse the effects of the blood thinner and see if they could stop the bleeding.
But by the time the meds kicked in, they weren’t getting any brain activity.
Mom had already been summoned, and we said our goodbyes.
He was the strongest man I’ve ever known. The best father, the best boss, the best friend I could ever ask for.
My mom and I miss him terribly.
I will share some more of my thoughts of the past week in a couple of days, but I just had to get write some of them down right now.
But here’s a couple of things of interest.
First of all, the CDB social media accounts will stay active, and we’re going to keep tweeting some of Charlie’s daily tweets, a scripture, “Never Forget 9/11,” “Benghazi ain’t going away,” “22 VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE EVERY DAY!!,” and more. I know he would want us to keep that going.
We still have anniversaries, birthdays, new merchandise and music to offer, the Volunteer Jam will likely morph into a tribute show. I’m hoping to get some input into some remixed/remastered classic CDB albums, and some vault material for future releases and dad just finished a novel, which we’re going to try to edit and get it ready to be shopped.
So, this isn’t the end, it’s just a new direction for everyone, but dad’s music will survive long after his passing. We will keep his legacy alive, and do our best to extend it and keep it going for future generations of fans.
My mom and I would like to say thank you for all the thoughts and prayers over the past week, and we have needed every one of them, and even more, if possible.
Again, instead of flowers, please donate to The Journey Home Project which aims to help veterans adjust to civilian life. It was one of his greatest passions. You can donate here: https://smarturl.it/TJHPDonate
This week, I’ve heard a lot of people say that dad was “The best there’s ever been.” And I have to agree, he was, and I don’t mean fiddle players.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police, our country and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America.
— Charlie Daniels, Jr.
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