Lately, Pope’s passing has been hitting me pretty hard. While he was alive I kept thinking “What a great life he led, when he passes it will just be the closing of a good book”. He would always tell me to throw his body in the dumpster and he would be with the Lord.
I felt prepared.
When I was told he was at the hospital and not going to make it I had this idea that it was the only real next step at that age and reduced mobility. I guess I just feel sad now.
A few years ago he was saying how much he would love to see Niagra Falls and I was like, “Let’s take a road trip!”
We also planned to go to Rhode Island and see the home of our ancestor John Watson who landed there in 1672. I coerced my brother to go with us and we started driving.
It wasn’t until we left Texas that he let one of us start driving. I realized that, besides the time he taught me to drive a stick shift, I had never had him in the passenger seat. He was so scared that I was driving fast even though it was the speed limit. Even under the speed limit, it was too much for him.
He started complaining about his back and we ended up staying the night in a motel in Missouri. In the morning he said he wanted to turn around.
I wasn’t able to talk him out of it (I still want to see Niagra Falls and Rhode Island), and we headed back after breakfast.
There is always something to learn from every journey. The thing I got was, you can’t feel like you have to be in control all the time, you might miss out on a cool experience. His back would probably not have bothered him so much had he rested and felt comfortable enough to let my brother and I drive for more than five minutes at a time.
Also, a completely separate topic from Pope.
I had previously mentioned Big Mama, the squirrel we feed in our backyard. She is usually at our back door at first light and last Friday my wife texts me that there is an injured squirrel in our back yard. It ended up being Big Mama. She has a patch of hair got from her back and now scuttles around with a limp back leg. I don’t know if it was a hawk, cat, or a jealous squirrel but something put the hurt on her.
I was a little worried when I didn’t see her for a few days but it looks like she is recovering now. The thought of her dying really got me down.
When I sit to write these blog posts, sometimes it is just word vomit, and this time is no exception. However, I think the thing I am feeling right now is this sense of “life is precious, love it while you can”.
I didn’t go to a funeral until I was in my teens. Even then, it was my uncle who I didn’t have much interaction with and those interactions were never great. Death was not something I knew firsthand until the last quarter of my life.
We should spend time with the people we care about, do things that create amazing memories (make sure to follow through). We should live in a way that we can like the person we are. Life is short and it is whatever we make of it.