Roy Exum: She Told Her Dad Goodbye

Saturday, February 15, 2014
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Several weeks ago an agonizing “timeline” appeared on Facebook, one that I pray none of us will ever have to write. John Winter, a lifelong newsman who now directs the Newnan (Ga.) Times-Herald, followed the updates by the hour and in a moving tribute, he shared on his blog what his friend Bronwyn McRae Williams and her husband Billy had posted about her father in an open and very public display of love on their Facebook page.

John wrote, “I have followed the heartache of two dear friends of ours – Billy and Bronwyn. It is a story of sadness, disbelief and true pain. It is also a powerful example of hundreds of people around the country joining in prayer and posting uplifting notes, of a young couple standing strong together, making life-altering decisions. More importantly, it is a beautiful story of grace and faith through it all.”

Bronwyn’s dad, Ron McRae, will be buried in Chattanooga on Monday. A graduate of Lakeview High School who later became a Systems Engineer for IBM in Chattanooga, Ron was a deacon at the First Presbyterian Church before moving to Florida following his retirement.

He served as an Army Tank Commander in Viet Nam and will be buried with full military honors at the Chattanooga National Cemetery following a 10:30 a.m. service Monday at the Chattanooga Funeral Home on North Moore Road. Visitation will be at the funeral home on Sunday from 2 p.m. until 4.

* * *

THE FOLLOWING NOTES WERE POSTED ON FACEBOOK:

BRONWYN -- (Jan. 28, 10 p.m.) My Dad was attending the “Rolex 24hr” Sports car race in Daytona. On Sunday he was walking across International Blvd and was struck by a car. He was alone and suffered massive brain injuries, multiple skull fractures, along with multiple other serious injuries … They have him in a medically induced coma on a ventilator. I know God alone can heal!

BRONWYN -- (Jan. 29, 3:45 p.m.) “The nurses took dad out of sedation this morning and he didn’t wake up. His swelling increased after lightening the sedation, so they had to put him back under. Prayers please.

BRONWYN -- (Jan. 30, 10 a.m.) Thank you to each and every one of you for your prayers. My heart is simply broken. I want my dad to wake up. I want him to enjoy picking out amazingly creative Christmas presents for (grandson) Jake, I want him to tell me how proud he is of me as a mother, how very much he loves Billy. Please lift us up in prayer.”

BRONWYN -- (Jan. 31, 9:15 p.m.) We are still in a critical wait mode … I’ve brought in some Eagles (one of his favorite CDs) to play.

BRONWYN -- (Feb. 1, 9:30 a.m.) In the midst of all this tragedy, I have to say thank you for the prayers. Please don’t stop now … I have to think The Lord is working in this somehow. I know who holds tomorrow. So to my friends and family, God Bless you for taking time away from your own precious family to intercede for us right now.

BRONWYN -- (Feb. 2, 2 a.m.) The neurosurgeon is worried about the possibility of brain shearing, very serious prognosis. Prayers please

BRONWYN -- (Feb. 3, 9:15 p.m.) I love this man and need him to wake up for me. Thank you for your continued prayers. We still need them desperately above all else.

BRONWYN -- ( Feb. 5, 4 p.m.) No response overnight … We are meeting with the neurosurgeon and palliative care physician today. Please pray for discernment as we make decisions for his care and future.

BRONWYN -- (Feb. 5, 7:40 p.m.) Over 24 hours off of full sedation, Dad is still completely unconscious … I know this man well and am aware that he would not want to live in this condition. Tomorrow at 1:00, I am surrendering it all to The Lord. They will be removing the ventilator. This is a most difficult decision.

BILLY -- (Feb. 6, 9 a.m.) Today I will stand by Bronwyn’s side as she makes the most difficult decision a daughter will ever have to make. Baby your beauty is matched only by your strength! You honor your father with dignity and respect. Take comfort in the knowledge that you will see him again.

BILLY -- (Feb. 6, 3 p.m.) After 2 hours off of life support Pop is still fighting as he has his whole life. Your father is a strong man Bronwyn and I know it’s hard to see him like this, but he is proud of the way you have fought for him.

BRONWYN -- (Feb. 6, 10 p.m.) “It is well”… Dad met his Savior tonight at 6:10pm. I held his hand for over 4 hours until he drew his last breath.”

* * *

Bronwyn, who attended Chattanooga Christian School, lives with her husband and son in Newnan, Ga. She is the daughter of Janice Kenner and offered a special thanks to Janice and her husband Ralph for “loving and giving so much of themselves during this time.”

In addition to Bronwyn’s family, Ronald Luther McRae is survived by his sisters, Gloria (Jerry) Guest and Linda (Roger) McGarrity, and a brother, John (Patsy) McRae, in addition to nieces and nephews.

royexum@aol.com


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