My dad, Bob Angel, was a wonderful person. I loved him very much and I miss him every single day. He died at 63 years old from cancer. Cancer ravaged his body and he suffered as this vicious killer attacked him. Cancer is a savage and I pray for all those who face this battle. I still cannot believe my Dad is gone and it has been years. I miss him and I feel blessed beyond measure that my son was able to know him.
My father has eight grandchildren, but only met five of these truly amazing people. It is heartbreaking he died so young, heartbreaking he is not here to see the lives of his children, and heartbreaking his grandchildren have lost their beloved Grandpa Bob. I am angry he is gone. It makes no sense and is not fair. I will grieve this loss for the rest of my life, but also be grateful that I was able to say goodbye.
The last words my father and I said to each other were I love you. That is a blessing. During his illness we were able to reminisce about wonderful times in our lives, heal old wounds, laugh, cry, hold hands, and as painful as it was, say goodbye. He left this earth surrounded by love and in no pain. I have a blessed life and I am certain it is because my father is not only watching, but has a hand gently guiding me down the right path. He is my guardian angel.
My son has beautiful, full, and curly hair, just like my dad, and it makes me happy. I have a perfect curl of my father’s hair in a locket that I wear most days. On Sunday, in honor of Father’s Day, I will wear my locket to the beach and stand in the surf. My mother always says if you stand on the shore, with each wave that passes over your feet, God takes away your sorrow. I‘ve done this every Father's Day since he died. It is my special time with my Dad.
I will cry and pray and talk to my Dad. It is tradition and it brings me comfort. This year I will also say a prayer for Reverend Douglas Wright. This will be the first Father’s Day that Reverend Wright will have without his beloved son Alfred. Alfred Wright, the father of three young children, died on November 7, 2013. He was murdered in a modern day lynching and months later, his murder is unsolved and his killers free.
I will think about Reverend Wright and his family, as they were not able to say goodbye to Alfred. He was ripped from them with no notice or explanation, and I cannot imagine that pain. Alfred’s family has fought hard to share his story and shine some light on his murder. They are waiting for help, looking for answers, and fighting for Alfred’s murder to be solved and the killers brought to justice. This family is amazing.
I have been writing about Alfred since I heard of his murder. I’ve been deeply moved by this man and his family. After one of my articles, his Uncle reached out to me to say thank you for writing about Alfred. Uncle Tommy introduced me to Alfred’s sister Annilia. I was fortunate to meet Annilia when she came to Los Angeles to talk about Alfred with my colleague, Julie Bien and me. It was an emotional afternoon for all of us.
We have put together a video about Alfred, along with our interview with Annilia. I ask that you please watch it, share it, and add your voice to those who want justice for Alfred Wright and his family. This young man was murdered. He was taken from his children, wife, parents, siblings, and friends. One cannot listen to the facts of this case and not see this was a racial killing and those who did this must be found.
We cannot let this murder go unsolved. There are people in Jasper who know what happened to Alfred. We only require one person to find the courage to come forward. Alfred Wright died a horrible death and only when those who did this are held accountable, will this young man rest in peace. We may never know exactly what happened to Alfred but that does not mean we cannot get justice for him and his family.
I hope you will watch the video and I pray there will be justice. I want Reverend Wright to know that on this difficult Father’s Day, Alfred is not forgotten. Should my dad ever cross paths with Alfred he will hug him and tell him he is loved by many who never knew him. I pray that when I stand in the surf my sorrow will wash away, even if it is just for a moment. I hope that my son will never forget his Grandpa Bob.
I wish all dads a Happy Father’s Day. To military dads who are away from their families, thank you. To the dads who are celebrating their first Father’s Day, Mazel Tov. To the dads who are ill and marking their last Father’s Day, bless you. To the mothers who are also dads to their kids, rock on. To Bob Angel, thank you for everything. I will see you at the beach on Sunday. I look forward to it and am keeping the faith.
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