When I was in High School there was a group of guys that all had long hair, leather jackets, barely came to school, and were in bands. Back then they petrified me. I never looked any of them in the eye. A few of them were cruel and a few I couldn’t figure out.
One of them (his name was Pop) was kind of quiet except for the few times I interacted with him. I have that effect on people. Our High School was built like an open college campus you would find in a warm climate. Only we are in New England. In the winter you had to bring a container of salt with you to school or risk falling in front of everyone and being laughed at. Believe me they would laugh and not think to help you up.
One day after a snow storm I came around a building to find Pop using a hammer on a pile of snow. I have no idea why he was hammering snow and I didn’t stop to ask him. He had the appearance of being high all the time. He was in the Future Farmer’s of America Program and I thought maybe he was growing what my brother had been kicked out of school for growing in the same program.
On Valentine’s Day you could by Carnations for your Valentine. YAY! I hated it because I knew I wasn’t going to get one. Then I saw Pop skipping around with Carnations and smiling. He came up to me and handed me one. I tried to tell him no one sent me one but he skipped away. (Yes he really did skip)
Years later I ran into Pop again, I was drunk and at a Pantera concert. W and I had gotten ourselves trapped in the pit and it wasn’t going so well. I couldn’t protect her and myself at the same time. She wasn’t about to throw any elbows or fists to get out so that meant it was up to me. I was capable of defending myself while drunk.
At some point I felt strong hands grabbing me and pulling me out, it was Pop. His friend helped W. I tried to talk to him and thank him but he walked away.
More years go by and I found out that my brother in law was good friends with Pop. It turns out he never drank or did drugs, he was diabetic from an early age and was against alcohol and drugs. Probably why he didn’t want to talk to me. I did get to talk to him a few times sober at a few of my brother in law’s shows. He was articulate, kind, funny, generous, I had him all wrong.
He had also been to L.A. for a few years and did okay with his band The Bastards. When I look at the pictures I can’t believe it’s him. His biggest influence was Motorhead.
A few years ago he was leaving work late one night, it was winter, he stopped to pick up a pizza because he hadn’t eaten all day. He didn’t know what his blood sugar level was at and went into a Diabetic Coma while sitting in his car. Because it was so cold and late at night, no one knew until the next day, by then it was too late. I was devastated.
I found out he was an advocate for worker’s rights and numerous charitable organizations. He worked towards getting children that are harder to adopt, adopted. He was a beautiful soul that I thought was high or crazy for the first several years I knew him.
We never really know anyone. Not even ourselves.
Physically and mentally I’m deteriorating a little faster than I thought I would. My Psychiatrist asked if he could measure me while I was there because he thought I looked shorter. I told him I was shorter, that I was 5’5″ but he wanted to measure me anyway. I’m now under 5’5″ since my visit to the Gastroenterologist on June 27th. That’s kind of scary. My neck has been in a lot of pain and the Doctor said “You know with Degenerative Disc Disease it doesn’t stay in one place so if it’s in your spine most likely it’s in your neck and you need to have scans done. What did your last bone density scan say?” Huh? What bone density scan? No one has ever suggested one even though I’ve gone into early menopause, have Celiac Disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, and on and on it goes. I’m also having blinding headaches and nosebleeds at night.
But I don’t want to go to anymore doctors. My brain is telling me to get in my new car and drive cross country to California. I have never done anything like that, I’ve always been too afraid. I’m afraid now, but if I don’t start doing things I might run out of time. I’ve been alone for over 9 years, my sister goes on “family vacations” every couple of weeks but if I ask her to spend a day or two with me she can’t. She’s too tired or the kids have too much to do. The summer is almost gone and I haven’t been in any water. I’ve hardly been outside. I ask permission before speaking to people (my dad mostly) or I ask if I’m bothering them by talking.
My Dad was told he has less than 4 years if he’s lucky. I already know I will not do well without him. He has set a high bar for humanity. I know I complain about him but he’s changed because he’s ill and because of his age and grief. It happens. Before all of these things he was honorable, loyal, generous, kind, didn’t judge, strong physically and mentally, he always made us feel safe.
He has saved my life more times than I can count and he helped create me whether he actually knew it or not. lol I have a feeling of being lost and wanting to run at the same time. I feel like I’m missing out on something also. I know I expect too much and I’ll probably be disappointed but wouldn’t it be better to at least try?
The best thing about Pop is that he lived and loved while he was here.