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Monday, March 18, 2013

Last Day of Leland

27th July 2012
Dear Cassi,

It comes to me that I have not told you of the last note in Grandpa Leland’s life that was played so many years ago. Leland was a man who had little love for doctors and even less for medication. He would crush pills and mix them with honey to get them down, because he had trouble swallowing them. Still he lived to be seventy five from what I understand. In his last years he had a sixty inch waste and did little moving.
I’m told once one of my aunts came over to help him with his laundry and found in his sheets blood. Not spots of red, mind, but deep puddles that had stained the bed itself.  The family insisted he go to see a doctor and only after some pushing Leland agreed. They found that he had colon cancer, but he lived for many years after that discovery. 
When Leland finally passed he did so in his sleep. He was found the next morning with the number of his undertaker on his bed stand. The old man knew he wasn’t long for this world, but he had that number because this undertaker was a friend. It would appear as if this man in question had retired from the business of the dead some years before but not saw those he had fondness for to the other side. Thus, grandpa went to the darkness gently touched by old hands that cared for him.
Family came out of the woodwork to go to the funeral but Alan refused to let them see his father’s body. “You pay your respect when a man is alive” he would say. Alan thought most of those folks just wanted to have a run at his father’s things. People can get greedy when folks die and will go about taking what they are not welcome to have.  The funeral was a small affair from what I gather but I have no recollection of this event.
There is much to be learned from this, Cassi, both from the passing of Leland and the actions of Alan. Firstly, it is good to have your affairs well in order when you pass. Sounds morbid I guess, but in this world a person has to look after things as best they can.

Secondly, to this we learn that the time is now to see things dealt with in our lives and loved ones. In the time of our lives we should see disputes settle if we want them to be so and never let the little things turn bad. That is a lesson everyone in my genetic similarity should learn as we have never been folks to get on. In the fragile nature of our lives we should never live for someday. Living for someday only means that we had laid today aside.

When I look over my life I see so much preparation for the future but so little joy and light. I have wallowed in darkness for so many years that I forgot the sight of the sun. For so much of my life I have been nothing but a walking ghost because I never learned from Grandpa Leland.

Live at least a little every day, little sister,

Richard Leland Neal