So a few weeks ago we lost a friend, everyone called him "Pop," he was a feisty older man who was homeless, but lived with another friend in the neighborhood. Tomorrow we will remember and celebrate his life. He went into the hospital a few weeks ago. His story is similar to the others, he was an addict, homeless, had many illnesses and just couldn't go on anymore. He didn't have any local family and tracing down his family in South Carolina was not an easy task. The same day that Pop was admitted to the hospital he was put onto life support, he hung on for several weeks and then he left us. I loved Pop, he would come over to the church on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for bread bags. He'd hobble over on his crutches, the poor man could barely walk but he got where he needed to go when he needed to be there. Pop never came to the church on the day his ticket was for, he'd come opposite and cause a fuss in the kitchen, but with his sense of humor and his sweet laugh he'd warm your heart and all you could do was laugh and give him a bag.
My fondest memories of Pop came from the past few months, one day a couple of recliners appeared at the corner of Payson and Lemmon street and that's where Pop and his buddies would sit, day after day, I quickly decided I would make an effort to spend a few minutes with them each day! I laughed with them, prayed with them, explained to them why I hang out in the neighborhood and recently had a conversation about being single. I feel in love with the realness that I found in Pop, the way that whenever he saw me with my big bag, he'd holler across the street, "Ms. Colleen, you got something sweet for me hidin' in that bag." Somedays I had something and he was so grateful...his love for people even with his circumstances shined and was completly evident in the way he acted towards others and with his soft spoken nature.
Tomorrow as we remember Pop, I will tuck the memories of him I have away to remember who he was in my life. My heart breaks now when I look over and the recliners are missing and the guys aren't hanging out there. My heart breaks when I see his friends wandering around looking lost. My heart breaks knowing there was no family to give him the proper burial service and my heart breaks even more because I never took the time to find out if Pop was going to heaven or not...I would like to believe in my heart that he did, but I won't know until I get there. I've been wondering the past few weeks, why it was that with all of the conversations we had, that was never one of them. I know I can't dwell on this, but I will continue to pray that someday I see Pop again!