A May to Remember, A Father to Memorialize

Dr. David L. Chancey's picture

Stress experts will tell you that there are two kinds of stress: eustress and distress. Eustress is the good stress that motivates us to get tasks underway and completed. Distress is bad stress that occurs when stressors pile up and become too much to bear.

My family and I are in a run of “good stress” in the sense of getting to manage and celebrate a lot of good stuff happening all at once. Our run actually started last December when our daughter Rachel graduated from the University of Georgia with her masters, and started her job in January. She’s our first child who is gainfully employed!

Then Ruth, our youngest daughter, graduated May 10 from the University of Georgia and just began graduate school at Georgia State University this month. Next we traveled to St. Louis for my oldest daughter’s graduation from Washington University medical school May 16. We’re in the process of moving Rebecca to Durham, where she’ll begin residency in pediatrics at Duke Medical Center.

Then our son Jonathan graduated from Whitewater High School May 23. We’ll be moving him to Milledgeville in August and he’ll start his studies at Georgia College and State University. How about that! Four graduations in one school year!

In the meantime, Rachel got engaged April 10 and set her wedding date for November 15. So between graduating, moving and trying to gets kids settled, we are excitedly planning our first wedding.

Obviously, we’re proud parents. 2008 is a year of celebration. As I think about each child’s accomplishments and enjoy this moment, I keep reflecting on my dad.

I lost my dad in 1993 to colon cancer. A veteran of the US Navy in World War II, Dad served as a pharmacist mate assigned to the USS Honolulu. He began college studies before the war, but didn’t get very far before he enlisted.

He was interested in medicine, but his career path took him into laboratory work for the state of Georgia. He worked in state labs in Albany, Macon, downtown Atlanta and Milledgeville. When we moved to Atlanta, Dad finished his bachelor’s degree from Georgia State, working all day and going to class at night.

In the late 1970’s, when I was a student at Georgia Southern University, my dad decided to go back to school. He enrolled at Georgia College and earned a master’s of public administration degree in 1981, just for the fun of it.

I remember the day he had his first major test. I was scared to death for him. I prayed all day that he’d make it through. He’d been out of school forever, and this was master’s work. He aced it with an A, and enjoyed his studies tremendously.

He was a great father who loved our mother and loved us boys. He taught me how to drive, how to pitch and catch a baseball, how to enjoy the game of baseball and especially the Braves, how to enjoy a Coke float, how to help around the house, the significance of faith and the tremendous importance of being in church together as a family. He taught me honesty, integrity and high morals. He was a great dad, and I’m so thankful for him.

He’s missed a lot since 1993. He loved these grandkids, and he’d really be beaming over these kid’s accomplishments. Maybe he is.

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