And In Return……

My father passed away the other day, and sadly, I don’t feel a thing.

Perhaps it is because I had not talked to, or seen him, in more than 30 years.

I don’t know.

Perhaps it is because when I was 10, he left me in a pool hall for hours on the weekend he was supposed to pick me up, although I did learn how to properly hold the stick from a guy who reeked of regret and whiskey.

I don’t know.

Perhaps it is because he, with the exception of the weekend above, missed picking me up for months and months until my mother said, enough is enough.

I don’t know.

Perhaps it is because when I was 13, he showed up at my basketball game, drunk, and cussed at me for not rebounding properly.  I did yell back at him, using all 7 words George Carlin said we cannot say on television.

I don’t know.

Perhaps it is because I got my name on the front page and picture of the Nashville Banner sports section one time and he called and left a message saying how proud he was of me, yet never attended a football game and couldn’t name a single one of my friends.

I don’t know.

Perhaps it is because he never looked into his grandkids eyes and saw what life is truly about.  My daughter resembles his sister in a lot of ways and he never saw her big brown beautiful eyes.  He never saw that my son looked like him in ways that are both fascinating and uncanny.

I don’t know.

He lived his life as a tremendous coward and whatever problems he and my mother had, that was between them but don’t turn your back on your kids.  A coward does that.

In return for him, God gave me something beautiful and wonderful.  A woman.  A woman I was blessed to call Mom my whole life.

A lady who when I cracked my sternum in a football game, drove all night to a hospital to make sure I wasn’t going to die, I wasn’t, and then drove back in the morning for work.

A woman that when I ruined my first marriage, read me the riot act up and down and made me change my life.

A woman that when my daughter was born, I looked through the glass and at my little girl and I said, “Mom, I have no idea what to do.”  She grabbed my hand and said, “We never do, but we will all do it together.”

A woman, who had just broken her hip, came to the hospital in intense pain to see my son and held him and cried.

A woman, who before she got sick, came to my son’s first birthday party and calmed down a crying baby boy.

A woman I kissed when she passed away and whispered into her ear, that every good thing I have in my body, came from her.

I hope along the way that my father became a Christ-loving, God-Fearing man and found peace at the end.

I don’t know.

I do know though, that God gave me a woman.  And she is who made me the man I am.

People have told me the last few days, how I am supposed to feel and act after the death of a parent.  I got a text from a dear friend that said, “Your feelings are yours.  There is no right or wrong.  People can guess but they can’t know or tell you how to feel.  After that, right and wrong comes from obedience to God alone, but you know that.”

I do know that and I do know this, that God gave me a beautiful woman in return.




  1. Jennye Baker August 19, 2019 2:43 pm  Reply

    Joe, I know this came from the heart and soul of you. I know from experience when a parent passes away it brings back good and not so good memories. I deal with this ever so often and say times were hard, but you seem to have come through the storm with your mom holding your hand and guiding you. I enjoy seeing you on TV and I ask God to send his blessings to you and your family!!!!!!

    • Joe Dubin September 4, 2019 12:38 am  Reply

      Jennye, thank you for the kind words!

  2. Jerry August 19, 2019 3:20 pm  Reply

    Love this Joe. Have some similar experiences in my story. If there is any thing I have come to know about you is you absolutely love and credit your mother for the good things in your life. I meet with a group of men on Friday mornings for breakfast and prayer. My cousin was also a great athlete and had an abusive dad that bailed out when he was 5. We often talk about my Aunt being his rock and a standard in my own life. One morning we were talking Fathers and how God only knows perfect and uses whatever we give him…sometimes we learn what not to do through our experiences. Sometimes the example is to be followed and sometimes it’s to avoid the pitfalls break those generational sins. In my family tree I like to think maybe I’m an acorn that fell and planted new roots and the family tree continues but the “Craddock” way is being re written.

    • Joe Dubin September 4, 2019 12:38 am  Reply

      Amen, brother and thank you!

  3. Regina Smith August 19, 2019 9:18 pm  Reply

    These words are so special. I’m sorry for the loss of your father so many years ago, but so thankful for the wonderful mother you had. God can heal you from all this pain. You are a great Dad and perhaps that is your best healing. Much love to you.

    • Joe Dubin September 4, 2019 12:38 am  Reply

      awwww, thank you!!

  4. Don Hastings August 19, 2019 10:21 pm  Reply

    Well done Joe. Your Mom, and maybe your Dad is smiling over the balcony of Heaven because of the man you have become.

    May all who come behind us, find us faithful!

    • Joe Dubin September 4, 2019 12:37 am  Reply

      Thank you!!

  5. carl p mayfield August 20, 2019 4:27 am  Reply

    You are a goodun’ on and off TV and the best sportscaster in town. We’re lucky some big city ain’t done snatched yinz up. I remember lyrics from a Travis Meadows song that go summin’ like…
    “My father was the only man who ever broke my heart”. Your story is similar to mine. My Father walked out on Mom and me when I was 5 months old. I attended his funeral, but I don’t know why. All the best!

    Bubba Skynyrd say’s Haaaaaaay!

    • Joe Dubin September 4, 2019 12:37 am  Reply

      The best compliment I have ever received! Thank you!!

  6. Jeff August 21, 2019 7:46 pm  Reply

    I do not understand about your father leaving you
    like that. I am blessed to have had a father that loved me and always did no matter what I did. it will be four years in October that he has been gone and I miss him. remember the trips we made to see his family as a kid in Kentucky remember the toll roads when we went. my grandmother’s butter cake man that was good and other things. my parents were married close to 55 years and my mom is still here and I cherish her every day. I am glad you had your mom to take care of you and look at what you became a fine man who is a father and raising his children. have a great one Joe you are the best.

    • Joe Dubin September 4, 2019 12:36 am  Reply

      Thanks brother!!

  7. LIsa Brosche October 19, 2019 1:27 am  Reply

    Your words are sadly beautiful.

    • Joe Dubin December 31, 2019 5:17 pm  Reply

      Thank you!!

  8. Tom Stafford December 15, 2019 7:13 am  Reply

    Wow. Just finished reading “And in Return”. I’m a grown man, 50, weaping. I had a very similar situation but reversed. my father was everything well my mother decided to me much less. He passed nearly 20 years ago and she is currently very ill. I haven’t spoken to her since the day my dad died. they have been divorced since 1979. I am battling with not contacting her while my sister is, 7 years my junior, live fairly close to her and have somewhat of a relationship. they were way too young to realize some of the abuses that I endured. I don’t feel sorry for myself for those things but I will never forget. your comments or so poignant and honestly have helped me realize that I’m not a bad person feeling the way that I do. I know you were just telling your story but I hope you know that, although we don’t know each other from Adam, your thoughts have been so important to me. Thank you Joe. P.S. I recently retired from radio after 35 years. I really enjoy watching you on TV. You’re the common guy with an excitable take on common things! Keep up the good work partner and thanks again!

    • Joe Dubin December 31, 2019 5:17 pm  Reply

      Tom, thank you for the kind words and I am sorry for what you are going through. Everyone says to forget and forgive, much easier said than done. Remember, what ever you do, is right.

  9. Tim Parrish December 15, 2019 8:30 pm  Reply

    Joe, you have no idea how this impacted me. It is the most powerful essay I have read in a long time! I am sorry you had to live through this. I am dealing with something similar and it hurts. Your words are a keeper. Thank you for giving me hope.

    • Joe Dubin December 31, 2019 5:16 pm  Reply

      Tim, thank you for the kind words and may the Good Lord be with you….

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