When Forrest arrives at his Momma’s bedside, he asks, “Why are you dyin’, Momma?”
Her reply: “It’s my time. It’s just my time … Death is just a part of life. It’s something we’re all destined to do.”
Last Friday night, I was ‘gumping’ on a bench on Stevensville’s main street to promote my upcoming “Sprinkle Gumption” fundraiser. I shouted out to an elderly gentleman who was walking past: “Hey young man, how’s it going?”
He approached and in a friendly yet defiant way questioned: “Why did you call me young? I’m old.”
In the next three to four minutes, I listened to his story.
- The woman standing over yonder was his wife of fifty-two years.
- He was seventy-five years old.
- He had three major ailments (including diabetes) that were killing him.
During his story, I only interrupted a few times to ask a simple clarifying question or two … I didn’t try to steer the conversation to a different topic. I didn’t attempt to get him to see his story differently.
He was elderly but looked robust. His coloring was good. He was barrel-chested and physically looked strong. His mind seemed clear.
He then told me his upcoming seventy-sixth birthday was in January … and that he would not reach that birthday. I knew what he meant: He would die in the next few months.
I fought my instinct to argue with him … to say something positive … to tell him he was wrong, and that he would live to be one hundred years old.
I didn’t say those things because it would have been insulting. He knew. His mind was made up. And I knew that he knew.
I wished him luck on his journey. I believe he is a good man and is simply ready for the next step. A few hours later, I realized that it was just his time.
I’m writing this because three days later, I can’t get it out of my mind.
He knew his fate and he shared it with me – a stranger. I was humbled.
As I write today, I’m grateful for the five minutes we shared together.
Momma Gump said, “Death is just a part of life. It’s something we’re all destined to do.”
Forrest said,“I wish it wasn’t.”
Next Blog Title: 300 and Counting
Next Blog Date: October 11, 2012