The Land of the Living

On Sunday afternoon, April 3, at 4:00, my Dad moved from this world to the next. As Wanda likes to put it, he has left the land of the dying and has gone to the land of the living. My Dad’s first experience in life of death was back in 1932. He was twelve years old. His father had lost his business as well as their home in the Great Depression. As a birth present to each of his sons, he had given them a $10 gold piece. My Dad’s mother made a deal with a gentleman to purchase a milk cow and an old mule in exchange for those five gold pieceswith the agreement, when she could get the money, he would sell them back to her. On a hot July day, my Dad was out plowing with that old mule and the old mule lay down in the field, heaved a last breath, and died. I asked my Dad, ―How did that make you feel?‖ He said, ―It made me feel like lying down and dying too.‖ Ten years ago, on April 18 in the early hours of the morning, my Mom laid down on her bedroom floor because she was too weak and her head was hurting too badly to make it back to the bed. My Dad got a pillow and put it under her head, got one of her homemade quilts and wrapped her in it, and lay down beside her. When he awoke, Mom was dead. At her receiving, I said, ―Dad, it’s the way Mom wanted to die. Would you have wanted it any other way?‖ And he said, ―I wish I could have laid there and died with her.  Life is like that. When something or someone we love and have depended on dies, a piece of us dies with them. My Dad lived another 78 years after that mule died and ten more years after my mother died. And this I learned, life does go on, even though it never is as easy as it once was. May God bless each of us in our loss and our future.

P.S. The gentleman went back on his promise to my grandmother, but that’s another story.