Giving to Guatemala

Thursday, August 14, 2008


It's a Friday night. It's summer. We just got inside from swimming in our pool and it's time for dinner. Our hair is all wet, we put on clothes over our wet swimsuites and get ready for our regular visit to Stokley's. We get the big corner table where the booth wraps all the way around the table in a semi circle. It's just big enough for Nan, Pop, Tiffany, Lance, me and Caiti. We order and eat. We finish, and go home. We take off our clothes in the car and throw them on the patio table. We all jump in the water. Nan sits outside with us until well after dark while we swim. Pop is inside watching tv. Those were the days....

Pop is sick. He has cancer. We all sleep in our sleeping bags in the floor of the living room. I can hear Pop's oxygen tank making noises while I try to sleep. His hospital bed is in the den. He sleeps alot. We don't go to Stokley's anymore.

I've just started second grade. We're playing outside on the playground. School is almost out for the weekend. I'm on the swings with my friends. Mrs. Beth our school secretary is walking down the hill with my daddy. My daddy never picks me up from school. I run to him and he picks me up and holds me really tight, then puts me down and we go get my things. Mrs. Beth just gives me a hug, and she looks sad.

I get in the front seat with my daddy. He holds my hand and asks "Emmer, do you remember when Blue Birdie died?"
I nodded yes.
He continues, "Well, Pop died today. He's not going to be at Nan's anymore. But he's not sick anymore."
We leave the school and go home. I cried all the home. But when we got in the drive way, my daddy told me I couldn't cry anymore. I couldn't cry in front of Nan.

My daddy gave me a piggy back ride up the driveway. We go in the back door and everything is the way it was before. The couch is back where it should be, and Pop's not there. His hospital bed is gone. Mom and Caiti were on the loveseat. Uncle Van, Tiffany and Lance were on the couch. Nan was sitting on the fireplace. I find my way over to Nan and sit next to her. Everybody is really sad.

Uncle Bill and Aunt Jean come over to watch us while Nan, Daddy, Mom, Uncle Van and Uncle Bubba leave. They're going to the funeral home. Aunt Jean brings Kentucky Fried Chicken with her, and a chocolate cake. She doesn't even make us eat the chicken. She just lets us eat the chocolate cake if we want it. She sits in the rocking chair and takes turns holding us and rocking us.

A few days later my Pop is laying in a box. He's asleep. People are giving us hugs and telling us everything is going to be ok. It's not ok. My Pop won't wake up. I ask my Nan if I can touch him. She tells me that I can. I reach out and touch my Pop's hand for the last time. It's cold and stiff. It's not my Pop. I tell my Nan that I'm ok. I just want to hold his hand.

We all go to the cemetery, and take Pop pretty flowers. They're getting ready to put my Pop in the ground. My Pop who would let us watch western movies with him, my Pop who would hold us tight if we did something wrong, my Pop. I didn't understand. My uncle Bubba was crying. He jumped up and held onto my Pop's box. He was crying loud and that made me cry. Bubba didn't cry. He was tough, he made us laugh. He tickled us and wrestled with us, and threw us in the pool. But that day, he cried. And I cried too.

And I still cry today.

To my Pop:
I was just a little girl when you died. The world was an innocent place to me until it took you away. I miss you. We all miss you. I'm glad you're not hurting anymore. I can't wait to see you again. I know you're watching over me. Raylon starts kindergarten next week. You would have really liked her. She's really funny. She asks about you all the time. The last time we went to give you flowers, she picked out a really pretty white rose for you. She asked me if you would like it. I told her you would. I love you Pop and miss you a lot.