Posted: 5:06 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30, 2013

Billy Graham's daughter speaks about his health, recent visit

By Natalie Pasquarella

MONTREAT, N.C. —

Ruth Graham, the Rev. Billy Graham's middle child, spoke exclusively with Channel 9 about how her father is doing Monday.

Since his 95th birthday last month, Ruth Graham has been to his home in Montreat several times to visit with him.

"He's comfortable, and he seems to be at peace," she said.

Ruth Graham said she cherishes every single minute she can spend with her father.

"It was a last-minute trip just to check on Daddy, and to be here and see him and talk with him," she said.

She made the six-hour drive from her home in Virginia over the weekend to Montreat to get some one-on-one time with her father, who has been in and out of the hospital.

SPECIAL SECTION: Reverend Billy Graham

She said he was alert and happy when she spent the morning with him Sunday.

"I told him who I was, and I told him that I loved him and he said he loved me, and he indicated that he was uncomfortable so I said 'Daddy, are you in pain?' and I said, 'Does it bother you to hold my hand,' and he said, 'Wonderful.' You know so he likes holding my hand. He likes people to hold his hand," Ruth Graham said. "His vital signs are very good, he's very strong, but his body is just wearing out, you know, it's a lot of miles on that body."

Just down the road from where her father lives, Ruth Graham showed Channel 9 around his office.

As the third of Billy Graham's five children, she said they're all blessed to have seen their father travel the world helping millions in their faith.

"Daddy had been friends with lots of presidents," Ruth Graham said.

She said while he was gone a lot, she remembers him as a "softie" at heart, who loved spending time with his children.

"He wasn't the disciplinarian in the family. He just loved us, and he loved to play with us, when he was relaxed and he was rested, otherwise it was hard for him," she said.

Ruth Graham said because of her father's lessons on love and acceptance, she was able to get through some major struggles in life, including three failed marriages.

IMAGES:  Ruth Graham sits down with Eyewitness News

She told me at her lowest point, after her second divorce, she remembers coming home.

"As I rounded the bend in the driveway, he was standing there waiting on me, and as I got out of the car, he wrapped his arms around me, and he said, 'Welcome home.' There was no condemnation, there was no blaming, there was no judging. There was just unconditional love," Ruth Graham said.

That love helped her as she started her own ministry. She also has a blog where she shares her stories and has written nine books, including a best seller.

She's starting a business venture to support her ministry. Ruth’s new business venture is selling aprons she says her mother first introduced to her when Ruth was a child. She says her mother brought them home from Europe, and she’d always wanted to duplicate them. They are aprons without strings.

But as busy as she is now, she's still making time to see the man who means so much to so many.

"He had such grace and sweetness and my father really taught me about God's grace," Ruth Graham said. "So I'm grateful for that, but I dread the day when he won't be here, I've never been in a world without my father, and most of us haven't."

Ruth Graham is writing her 10th book and said it will be about another issue her father taught her a lot of about: forgiveness.

To learn more, go to www.apronwithoutstrings.com or call – 276-466-8080.

To visit Ruth Graham’s blog, click here: http://ruthgraham.wordpress.com/

To visit the Ruth Graham Ministries website: http://www.ruthgrahamministries.org/

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