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Parents’ love: never take it for granted

It was a beautiful, early fall afternoon.

The sun was about 90 minutes away from setting in the western sky. As we made the turn off NC 42 onto NC 11, a sun dog was clearly visible on both sides of the sun….another one of God’s many creations.

Given the circumstances of that particular day – Oct. 11, 2004 – we felt God had his hand on our shoulder, helping to guide our family through what would be one of our darkest hours.

It was that day that Blanche Joyner Bryant drew her last breath and joined my father in heaven. I got the call at work around mid afternoon and waited for my sister to make her way to Ahoskie so we could make the drive together to Greenville. Mom had been hospitalized there after undergoing surgery for liver cancer 28 days earlier. She never made it home.

Sadly, less than eight years later, the family gathered again, this time to bury my sister, who lost her brave battle vs. cancer.

While I miss both those women, each that made a powerful impact in my life, I always get teary-eyed every Oct. 11 as I think of how my life would have turned out had I not been fortunate to be to son of Blanche Bryant.

In life we have many choices. The biggest exception to that rule is we have no control over who will be our parents. I feel so blessed to have been the son of Ray and Blanche Bryant….two, hard-working, loving, and God fearing individuals. Both were extremely wise, far beyond the simple high school educations they received. They doled out love and discipline in equal doses.

As a child, it’s hard to notice the impact your parents have in guiding and shaping the lives of their offspring. Those lessons of love and life become clearer as a child ages. By the time they reach adulthood and begin a family of their own, the judgment calls they make, the discipline they use, and the love they show often mimic that of their parents.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself saying the same things, doing the same things my parents did. Those lessons from decades ago remain as valuable assets today. I just wish both my parents were still here on Earth so I could prove to both of them that, yes, I was listening to their wise advice.

I guess the underlying reason I bring this all up….other than the fact that the 11th anniversary of my mother’s death was Sunday….is what I see and hear on almost a daily basis. It hurts my soul when I see a child, or even an adult, mistreat their mother or father.

I can’t count the number of times when the police scanner, which sits on my desk at work, has a call for law enforcement to answer regarding a domestic situation between a parent and child. They can range from as simple as a child refusing to get in a car….perhaps after not getting their way….to as serious as a physical altercation. The latter really bothers me as I fail to understand how a child/adult could physically harm those who brought them into this world.

My simple advice is to hold your parents close for as long as you can. Show them the same love and affection they’ve shown you. The day will come – as it did for me on Oct. 11, 2004 – when you long to hear that soft voice, feel their gentle touch, and see that gleam in their eyes again.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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