Saturday, June 11, 2016

And Quietly He Slipped Away

He lived most of his life on his own terms. I know he didn't foresee the tragedies he would have to face, bankruptcy, the death of both of his wives and of his only son. I'm sure he was devastated by those losses, yet he never complained. He just stood tall and moved forward.

Two years ago he moved back home to the city he was born in but left almost 70 years ago. There no longer was anyone there that was family and when we near the end of life, having the life we're used to without the people that love us in it, isn't much of a life at all. He didn't say much about how he was liking the change, like everything he had to deal with he just made the best of things and kept moving forward.

Then his body began to betray him. First a stroke and a hospital stay, then a rehab facility. Then another hospital stay for a bleeding ulcer only this time he refused to go to rehab. This time he went home. To the home he lived in from Thanksgiving weekend of 2014 until sometime last night when he went to sleep to wake up no more.

I knew Tuesday that he'd given up. I knew it was a matter of time but still was shocked to my core when I called there this morning to tell him I was still contagious and would see him Monday and his sister-in-law answered the phone. She and my other Uncle had gone to pick him up to go grocery shopping. His body was there, he wasn't. Odd how things occur, isn't it?

He didn't like being sick, he didn't like being dependent on anyone. It took away his confidence in himself. It also took his will to live with it. He was no longer able to live life on his terms and that made life something he no longer wanted. It doesn't matter whether or not another stroke took him or whether or not his heart gave out. He'd made the most of his 93 years. It was time to say goodbye.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I Wonder If The Road To Success Starts In A Parking Lot?

This morning I drove a neighbor and his dog to the vet's office for shots. I chose to wait in the car in the parking lot instead of going in because the day was gorgeous and I wanted to enjoy it. This particular animal hospital is at an intersection of a major state highway and a country road. There is a stop light there and a lot of traffic.

I was just admiring the work of the state employees on their zero turn lawn mowers racing up and down the median strip when an unmarked tractor trailer entered the intersection. There was no visible identifying freight company markings on it, but on the side of the trailer in huge letters it said; "Nobody said the road to success was a smooth and easy drive. You just have to watch out for the bumps." As I finished reading that I realized the stop light on my side of the intersection was green which meant that the light that controls the direction he was traveling in was red. He had slowed for the light but somehow didn't stop. Fortunately there was no traffic at the crossroad or his road to success might have included not only a few bumps but a few traffic tickets as well.

That intersection has seen it's share of death. After the wife of a friend of my family and her 3 children were killed there back in the 80s, the state reconfigured the intersection to try to make it safer. It, of course, didn't change much. It isn't a flaw in the intersection that is the problem, it's a flaw in the drivers. Yes, I am a driver and including myself in that statement. While I don't speed or make unsafe turns, there are times when the boredom of the drive lets my mind wander. All drivers are constantly distracted by life which is why I get so frustrated with those who feel they can drive safely while doing other things.

When we stop to think about the fact that we're already thinking about things that have nothing to do with the road and the other cars, pedestrians, animals, farm equipment or what have you, we're already multitasking. Most of us do not have a brain designed to do that successfully so why would anyone add fixing makeup, eating or posting status updates on Facebook?

Today the sky was beautifully blue, the grass was green, the flowers were blooming and I saw all this while sitting in a parking lot waiting for my neighbor to come out. Made me a bit nostalgic for those Sunday drives we used to take in the summer. Now we're in too much of a hurry all the time to go nowhere and we haven't the sense God gave a horse to realize how much we're missing. In case you're not familiar with horses, God didn't give them much sense at all. They're smart animals, they just don't have any sense. Kind of like people these days.