I’ll slip you 15 bucks if you’ll tell some lies about me at my funeral. This is not verbatim but it’s the gist of what was said.
My Pops was recently hospitalized for a mild case of pneumonia. The doctor wanted to “nip it in the bud” before it became something more serious. The first night in the hospital, Pops was still Pops. He was receiving antibiotics and respiratory therapy for the wheezing and tightness in his chest. He wasn’t even sick enough to warrant him putting on hospital clothes. He stayed in his street clothes and laughed and cut up with us.
The second night, Pop flipped on us. He went into a full state of hallucinating and confusion that remained for the duration of his entire stay.
Pops has Parkinson’s. I’ll never forget the day in 2013 when he came to my house and told me. Pops took it all in stride and reassured me that the the doctor had told him that Parkinson’s would not be what killed him. I’ve always taken comfort in that becuase if you do some research, you’ll see what a cruel, disease this bugger can be. Pops has other medical issues that seem more life threatening. Life went on.
We believe that Pop’s Parkinson’s symptoms exploded during his hospital stay due to stress. Becuase he was so confused, and the hallucinations were non stop, medical personnel thought it would be best for family to stay with him around the clock. My brothers and I took rotations. And it was eye-opening.
For the last 3 years, Pop has sheltered me from a majority of his health concerns. He knew that I had my hands full in caring for Preston and didn’t want me worrying and stressing about him. See, Pop’s own wife suffered a massive stroke and was left partially paralyzed and living in a nursing home. He knew all about the emotional turmoil that I’d often cry on his shoulder about. He’d always tell me that their was someone worse off than any of us. He’s still one of Preston’s best friends to this day.
He always blows off the bruises from his falls as nothing. Close to a year ago, Chase asked to move in with him so there would be a body with Pops at night. In doing that, Pops has protected me even more. He’d make Chase call my brothers in times of emergencies and ask him to keep it from me.
During my time staying with Pops at the hospital, there was no dull moment. It was action packed. We went on many adventures of a lifetime. We did a little breaking and entering. We were arrested. We fought off some motorcycle gangs. We watched some pigs fly. We went swimming. We had a situation with puppies being trapped in vents in the ceiling. I saved the boat we were on my rubbing the cabinets in the room as they crumbled. Pops had me looking for beer to pay the respiratory guy for his services. My by far favorite experience was probably the “pot party” that we had. For a time, we were partners in crime. Memories made. We laughed and I cried. Then I’d laugh some more.
I wouldn’t trade that time for anything in the world. In his rare lucid moments, he’d tell me that he loved me and my brothers and how proud of us he was. At 47, I still have a blessing that my sweet boys crave. A daddy.
One night, my pastor came to see us. Pop jokingly told him that he’d give him $15 bucks if he’d lie and say some nice things about him at his funeral. Only Pop.
Ironically, Pops and I recently had a conversation about his funeral arrangements. Or lack there of. Pop isn’t having a funeral. His says pay your respects and have those relationships while he is living. Not when he is dead.
That stopped me in my tracks.
I have a confession. I’ve been living for the “dash”. Everyone has a dash. It’s that thing on your tombstone in between your birth and your death. Preston and I felt called to a new church many months before we finally made the move. Why? Becuase I had ties to the pastor that go way back to when my boys were small. I wanted him to be able to talk about my dash at my funeral. All the trials, all the blessings, my accomplishments, blah, blah, blah.
The dash doesn’t matter. When I soar on eagles wings to be in the presence of my Maker, that’s all that will ever matter. If you are still blessed to have your parents, I encourage you to call them CONSISTENTLY, or text, or visit. One day the dash will be complete and a date carved into the right of it. It’s too late then.
Until next time,