Just about two weeks ago, my Papaw had his dialysis “port” fall out twice in two days because of low blood pressure. At that point they wanted to do some invasive surgery. The chances that his frail body would have made it through the surgery were slim. He kept saying, “I just want to go home.” So my family made the hard decision to skip the surgery and took him home, along with full time hospice care. With this route, we knew it would only be a few days that we would have him with us. I have no idea what we would have done without the caring hospice volunteers. People just do not know how to deal with the dying, including us.
Hospice had excerpts from a book on dying called “Crossing the Creek.” The author, who was a long time hospice nurse, noted that you couldn’t possibly walk through the dying process with people over and over and not believe that life goes on. It was really good and one thing that it said is that people tend to start to see life “symbolically” as they begin to die. And, as the title of the book indicates, if they were outdoor folks, they may start talking about crossing the creek or something along those lines.
If you knew my Papaw, you know that if there was anything he loved, it was nature. Okay, well, he was not exactly a tree hugger, but he did love being out in the woods (mostly at night, with dogs, and a gun, shooting at things) and he loved planting and harvesting things too! In fact, my Grandma told me that there was rarely a week that went by when he was younger that he didn’t call in sick to work and go hunting! That would explain a lot about my work ethic. Papaws life’s motto was “You can’t live life under a strain.” Again, there are so many things that we Payne offspring inherited from our patriarch (refer to past post about my lack of over commitment).
We always thought that “Crossing the Creek” was an appropriate analogy for Papaw. My Uncle Dan had a dream about his dad before he died. He dreamed that he (Dan) arrived in heaven and Papaw was there sitting on a big rock, in the middle of the forest. His hair was it’s former black color and he was younger. He saw Dan and waved to him. He told him, “It’s about time you got here.” I would imagine that that is indeed what Laymon Payne’s heaven looks like.