I am completely numb.
That's the only way to describe the feeling I had when Dad called me earlier today. It was a call that I was expecting to get any day unfortunately. However, I selfishly hoped that it wouldn't come for quite a long time at all. I would have been perfectly content if it never did even though I knew that was impossible. Today was that fateful day.
Reverend Lloyd G. Fleming, better known to many of us Flemings as "Popoo", passed away this evening. He was 93-years-young.
I feel like absolute crap that I didn't make the trip down there to Kansas City this Memorial Day weekend to see Popoo. I was all on deck ready to go when I realized in the 11th hour that my finances wouldn't allow it. I tried to justify to myself that I could make it down another weekend and visit Popoo since I knew he wasn't doing well. I foolishly forgot that most common disclaimer that tomorrow is not promised to anyone.
I'm not going to dwell on that though. That would be focusing on the negative and there was SO much positivity that Popoo left with me that I can focus on instead. There were enough memories to last several lifetimes. More than enough knowledge that could fill at least a couple of encylopedias. And sometimes it wasn't even from a conversation but just from his gestures, mannerisms and/or looks that conveyed more than words could ever say.
It's funny because Popoo just happened to be on my mind the other day when I had the most random thought. For some reason the old African proverb "speak softly and carry a big stick"(sorry history buffs, but it was famous before Theodore Roosevelt) crossed my mind and I immediately thought of Popoo. The reason being that it suddenly occurred to me that I had never heard Popoo raise his voice. Ever. Well, with the exception of when he was preaching and caught the Spirit. But beyond that, not once. And he never had to. He earned respect of everyone around him because his actions always spoke louder than his words. Actions so impressive that those too will remain with us as part of his neverending legacy.
I didn't ever want there to be the day that Popoo wouldn't be here with us any longer. He was one of those one constants that I always enjoyed having in my life. I could always count on going to Kansas City and visiting Popoo and Grandma's house in the Quindaro neighborhood. Always seeing his face light up as soon as I entered their home. Hearing his quiet laugh as if every visit was my first. For someone that doesn't smile much at all, Popoo never had any problem getting a smile from me.
The good thing about Popoo going home is that he is suffering no more. We all knew he been sick for quite a while so it's not as if it was something we weren't expecting. He's in a much better place now as he should be. And at least he was able to get in one last hurrah with his loved ones this Memorial Day weekend before going home. Popoo can now look down on his family knowing that the love we had and will continue to have for him will never come close to the love that he had for all of us.
Rest in peace, Popoo.