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Montcoal, West Virginia & my daddy's death

The mining disaster in Montcoal, West Virginia opened up a wound in my soul that has never completely healed. Whether miners lose their lives in a disaster or lose their lives from the coal dust they breath every day, it makes me sad to think there are men still going underground to make a living so that someone else can live well and long.

Cecil Carl Null, my daddy, worked in the mines in Raleigh, West Virginia in the 1940's and died at age of 47 of lung disease. I was two when he died. I have memories of him which are either real or set in place by stories told by my sisters, Sue, Ella, or Maxine.

I used to cry for him when I was mad at the world, sure that if he were here he'd save me from my heartache. I still believe that. Little girls need a strong daddy to protect them. I had one but he watched over me from Heaven. Believe me I liked the idea of having a daddy in Heaven because my friends didn't have that. They had daddies who came home for dinner every night. Who pushed them on a swing at the park and who wiped away their tears when they cried. I would have given up the idea of having a daddy in heaven for one moment of a real daddy to hold me his arms.

I've prayed since the news came that there was another mine explosion. I pray not just for the miners and their loved ones but for the laws governing mining to be more stringent and more geared to protecting the lives of the miners and not lining the pockets of the mine owners.

In my fiction I often try to give voice to the underdog, those who might not otherwise have the words to give us their life stories. Sometimes I'm successful. Sometimes not.
West Virginia and her people are in my blood. I believe I am in their blood as well.

Have a blessed day. And please pray for the 4 miners who may still be alive.


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  3. Oh I am so so sorry you went through life with a dad and that he died so young. My heart broke as well when I saw this story and thought of all the families and the sadness they will endure for years. You certainly have a story to tell and from what I read today, you can tell it!

  4. Hey Barb, very emotional story about your daddy. The current story of the mine disaster, for sure, must bring back those memories. Prayers for the 4 miners. I hope they are found alive.

  5. My mother lives in WV right now and we usually travel there once a year to visit her. It's such a state of dichotomy, isn't it. Beautiful in one sense, but filled with sadness in another.

  6. I am! And it's a shame we still need to mine for coal.

  7. This disaster brings back memories of the Sago mine explosion back in Jan. 2006 for me...I remember staying up most of the night, just praying and waiting to see if the miners would be brought out alive. I will be praying again, for the remaining miners to be found alive - and for the families of the ones who didn't make it. So senseless. It breaks my heart mom, to read about you longing for a father when you were little. Especially now that I am a mother, and know how much the kids need both parents. Love you!!

  8. I'm so sorry for your loss and for this most current tragedy. Prayers are being sent.

  9. You've told me about your dad before, but I've never been as moved as with this reading. The power of the written word is incredible. I'll never again read about men in the mines without thinking of you. And be assured the miners are in my prayers.

  10. I don't think you can live in WV and not know someone who works in the mines. In the old days my grandpa and some of my uncles worked in the little mines that dotted the hillsides up our holler. It is a dangerous job. My husband's father died young from a cancer he got from working in a local chemical plant, another one of the hazardous jobs in our state.

  11. Thank you for sharing your words of sorrow and grief on the loss of your father. I can only go by the words others write about the hard life miners live and how they put their lives on the line. I am sorry for your loss at such a young age. My father passed on at age 41, but I was 18 and have many endearing memories of him. I'm glad your sisters where able to share with you so he lives on in your meemory and heart forever.


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