Sunday, January 05, 2020

King of the Road has taken the last exit

The long and winding road has come to a dead end. Think about it. We all have a dead end at our finish line. Ok, not everyone thinks of roads. How about dots?

If you gave me all the dots I would not have time to connect them. It takes a lifetime to connect the dots. That’s ok because that last dot - it’s a killer.

I’m writing this as I try to lighten-up a bit. Our family joke teller has passed on to his next gig today. I’ve already wept a few tears earlier today so now in the spirit of his joking I strive to write a remembrance on the lighter side of life’s road (at least I'll stay out of the ditch).

Back in Aug. 2011 in MO

I think of him as King of the Road. He has had over 6000 stitches and was thought to have died many times during his years. He has totaled more vehicles, cars, motorcycles, trucks than I have ever owned. Not all the mishaps were driving related. He worked construction and has visited a few bars during his life.

I first mentioned my uncle’s approach to his finish line in a post at the end of November. Since then it’s been a quick ride with him. Some dips and dangerous curves but also many scenic views of past memories. It was an absolute joy to share jokes with our family joke teller too. Even in this last phase of his trip, he could still joke and give a smile.

Less than 24 hours before his brakes failed, he told my cousin and me this joke.

Two blondes at a bar are asked by the bartender if they are sisters.
One quickly replies, “Oh no, we are not even Catholic.”

Two of our daughters were able to visit him on different days. Being separated by a whole generation, one daughter was curious to discover more about him and asked him about his life. I jumped into the conversation by mentioning the fact that he had two marriages. Then I learned my uncle was having a good day. He was surprisingly quick to pull my unsuspecting daughter into a joke.

King: “When I was first married, I picked wild mushrooms.”
Daughter with a puzzled look.
King: “My first wife died from a poison mushroom.”
Daughter with a concerned look: “Oh my”
King: “Do you know how my second wife died?”
Daughter: “No”
King: “A head concussion. (pause) She wouldn’t eat the mushrooms!”

All three of us had a great laugh. I believe he laughed hard enough to bounce the bed.

It was great seeing him with plenty of visitors. While in hospice, he celebrated his 89th birthday. This probably helped him going.

These past five or so weeks showed me the power of humor. Sharing a laugh creates new bonds and strengthens existing bonds. My uncle provided me a lesson without knowing it.

Hospice was a good decision. I think if you are about to leave earth on a one way no return ticket then you should turn off ground control (doctors trying to save you) and share the countdown with family.

If you want background on why I consider him King of the Road check out these older posts:

first one
second one

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