I hate death.
I wish death would die.
My sweet, wonderful friend, Willie, is gone. His life was full of pain, and was worsening. He decided it was time to go, and made a decision which I totally get ... but I miss him. I want him back. I wish we had found him a solution to his misery sooner, so he wouldn't have felt as though his hands were tied.
His stories? Well, we never knew what was true, but he was so happy to tell them. So we listened.
He had two beds in his trailer. A picture of Willie Nelson hung over one. He slept under Marilyn Monroe. His centerpiece on his little kitchen table was an alligator head. He once went to prison for poaching gators while he was living in Louisiana. His key chain was an alligator foot.
We had been here about a month, when he hollered at Michael, "Hey! When you gonna' get some more women out here?" Yeah ... what would that personal ad look like?
He drank like a fish until a year and a half ago. His chosen-family "grandson" insisted he quit ... and he did.
Speaking of his "grandson" ... he was Pawpaw to this sweet boy, though there is no blood relation. He started babysitting and caring for him when he was just a newborn. That family has become his family here (the rest of his family is in Houston and Florida). They spent most weekends together. He loved that boy. He loved him very, very, very, very much.
Willie swore he could not have a cup of coffee without a cigarette in his hand. So, he loved to say it was my fault he hadn't quit smoking - I always have coffee on. Several months ago, I picked up some flavored coffee. Willie doesn't like anything fruiffy or fancy. He refused to drink it. Refused. Actually, his exact words every morning were, "You got normal coffee yet, or you still making that other sh**?" To which I'd sass back, "I'm just trying to help you quit smokin', old man."
He loved my kids. He was aging, and never could remember anyone's names very well. He called my youngest "Little Bit." She loved that.
He hated letting me take care of him after surgery, and hauling him to doctors' appointments. But he also loved me taking care of him after surgery and hauling him to doctors' appointments. One of the reasons I think he is gone is because he was hitting a point where he needed more help and more care. He would have done (and did) anything to not be completely reliant on someone else. I didn't mind helping him. But he did.
I loved how he would tell me the same stories over and over again. I loved how he griped about our old friend, Picasso, every. single. time. we. talked. I loved how his smile softened up his insanely gruff exterior. I loved how he asked if our kids had family in Haiti (after the earthquake) and then checked in every few days to find out if we had heard anything. I loved how he would press one wrong button on his universal remote, assume it was broken, go buy a new one, and cause my husband to roll his eyes asking him to come reprogram it ... yet again. I loved how slow he'd drive that old truck. I loved, loved, loved how he'd say, "Ah hell!" and kinda' shrug his shoulders.
I loved Willie. I miss him already.