Maybe it is because this is the time of year that we think about the past and hope for better in the future that Pop is on my mind more than usual. Maybe it is because this time last year the man I called My Pop entered the VA hospital in Atlanta to die.
Pop was 93 when he died and he died because he wanted to. I know. I was the last person he spoke to before he lapsed into that special sleep many experience just before death. I know because I helped him write and publish his memoirs, THE SECRET OF POSSIBLE DREAMS… That Leads You to Successful Living, two months before he died.
He was the man I honored as father. I had known Pop all my life. He was the Sunday School Superintendent for over twenty years of the church I went to. He was not my father, but he was the father I knew. I became the daughter he lost; he became the father that I had lost.
He and I would spend hours conversing about every subject under the sun. His mind was razor-sharp even in his nineties, but I could be just as bull-headed and opinionated as he, still my law degree was no match for his 4th grade education. He was a self-learned and self-made man. He was candid about his life and shared his secrets. Pop was my friend, mentor, and he was my hero.
Eleven o’clock, December 31, 2012, as I was preparing to go to watch night service, the Spirit urged me call my Pop. I knew his heart. I knew he was ready and I was prepared to let him go. In obedience, I placed the call.
“Please Pop,” I begged, “Please come into the New Year with me.”
He told me, he had to go. It was our last conversation.
I found out from the nurse the next day that he did see the year 2013 and just after the stroke of midnight, he never opened his eyes again.
I have never grieved for Pop for Pop lived a full life, with his wife of 75 years; whom he called his angel, and I, affectionately called Mom, family, friends, mission work and me, his daughter through spirit. He invited me to share his life and he loved me as only a father can.
He wanted more for me than I wanted for myself. Any achievement I gained, any accomplishment I made, he was as delighted for me as if he had done it himself.
He wanted me to be happy. He wanted me to be married. He wanted me to have my own home. He wanted me to travel abroad and see the world. He wanted me to take what he felt was my rightful place in “high society”. He wanted my struggles as a single parent to end and he wanted me to want so much more out of life. He wanted me to dream bigger dreams than I had settled for. In all he wanted for me, he was never disappointed in me. He believed in me.
Up until his death every endeavor Pop would undertake, and there were many. I was there. He always said that I would be the one to take care of him in his old age. But Pop never grew old, he just aged. At ninety-three, strong in body, sharp of mind, a giant in Spirit, Pop was ready to go. Pop simply loved Jesus more than anything or anyone else and Pop wanted to be with Him.
Believe that and if you have doubts, of which I speak, read his book.
My Pop, a Man among men.