A man called Destiny

He hovers above, a shining pinpoint of light, so full of unconditional love, my eyes well immediately. Meditating, I float somewhere in between, held in my father’s embrace, a reminder of the tentative consciousness we inhabit.

He was my first love, my first teacher, my safe place. 

He was also the buffer between my Mother and me, loving her when I would not, an example of patience, tenderness, and compassion I could not yet comprehend. 

When I ran away and got drunk in the eighth grade, he brought me home, but not before we stopped by the Hen House for toothpaste and a toothbrush. 

When I was wild and rebellious, acting out and lashing out, he remained gentle and steadfast, never letting me forget my value.


An only child of Irish immigrants, Ehret Oscar had curly hair, delicate features, and a sensitivity that no bully could resist.

His parents made education a priority. With the support of Pat and Rose Nell Ramey, Ehret pursued a medical degree from Washington University after attending college on the GI Bill. 


He met my mother, a diminutive 89-pound southern beauty at Barnes Hospital. Ruth Wylodene Sturdivant worked as a dietitian and he was in his residency. 

They married and moved to Kansas City to begin his practice and start their family, He became a beloved OB/GYN but multiple miscarriages derailed their plans for children.

That’s how my brothers and I became a family. It wasn’t an easy configuration. With Dad at the hospital and Mom left to mind us, we fell into the chasm between our parents. He was a stabilizing if often absent force; she was minimally present, chronically overwhelmed, and woefully ill-equipped for child-rearing.

It was confusing and lonely for all of us.


It takes me years to forgive him for leaving us alone with her, and even longer for me to cut her a break. Raising my boys helped. It’s trite to say she did the best she could, but she really did.

After his stroke, my Father’s essence shines even brighter. Life’s extraneous noise rinsed clean, only his immense kindness remains. He was a man of faith; perhaps that helped him.

By then I am in my late forties and taking care of him and my Mother. It wasn’t easy but it did help me grow up. 

The week of his death, he labors at the breakfast table, so winded from congestive heart failure he can barely breathe. 

Between arduous bites of Honey Nut Cheerios, he smiles, reaching for my hand, “So what are we going to do today?” 

My heart and eyes sting because there is nothing we can do today, except wait. 

“I think we’ll just hang out here, Dad,”  I answer. He pats my hand.

My father died four days later.

In those days, hospice left you with the morphine and told you how to administer it.

I find his decline so painful that I decide to release him with a fatal dose. When I tell my younger brother, we hold each other in the kitchen and cry. We determine it will be the next dose, but when we go to give it to him, he is gone.

Loving to the end, our father spares us once again.



Mom and dad were happy travelers.

We know he’s hung on to make sure we’ll be there to take care of our mother. Reluctant as I may be at that point, making such a vow is not done lightly. We all agree and that helps free him.

When they come to retrieve his body, I don’t cry. I’m happy his suffering was over. The thing they take away is not my father.


Dad died in 2008.

A lot has happened in my life since then. I know my dad would be proud of me because he always was.

Despite missing him, I feel his acute presence every day. 

I hear his gentle voice singing a hymn, remember the way he put his arm around my mother, and recall his ornery laugh while telling one of his interminably long and painful jokes.

For many years, I wondered about my birth parents – why they gave me up and who they were. I was sixty before I received that blessing in the form of discovering my half-siblings. We share a father whom I finally met via Zoom.

He is not my father. He is just someone who got my birth mother pregnant.


My father, Ehret Oscar Ramey, was and is a gentleman who loved with great strength. I am so grateful for that fateful connection, my lucky destiny.

Happy 99th birthday, Dad. Thank you. I love you.

4 thoughts on “A man called Destiny

  1. He was a great doctor that delivered both of my sons. It is so ironic I am reading this now because 62 years ago today (23) I was admitted into st Luke’s on plaza. He was on a fishing trip with friends and my child was not due until March 4’. I stayed in hospital and late on 2 nd day he came back from fishing trip to take care of me. At 12:27AM on February 25 we had a precious son for me and my husband. When my second son was born October 18, 1965 I entered st Luke’s on plaza again 2 day’s early prior to his birth. He was not due for 2. More weeks. This time I decided to stay awake for the delivery and I remember doctor Ramey trying to bet the nurse it was a girl. Back then no sonograms and. Husband’s weren’t allowed in delivery rooms. I was blessed that the boys, both in their early teens, got to meet Dr Ramey at the plaza picture show and visit. We use to see your Mom and Dad at Waids 103rd some on Sunday mornings. Also, Keith (sadly passed 2 years ago) and Laura Trucker are friends.

  2. Tina,
    This a beautiful tribute to your father’s unconditional love for you and your family.
    He embodied the definition of what love is as it gave you a life dedicated to making this world a better place and raising your boys to be the incredible loving men they are.
    Thank you for sharing this memory of profound reflection for a man who shaped the woman that you are and that I love.

  3. Thank you, as always Tina, for your sincere openness and honesty with your experiences of being a human! And isn’t it grand? Both the family we are given and those we choose. Much appreciation for you and your spirit and your willingness to share. With love, Kami

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