|A more healthy Macky and Me - October 2010|
But late in March, Macky's body started again to build fluid and our telephone visits sometime had to be shortened because I could sense he was running out of breath. In early April, after a troubling visit to the congestive heart failure clinic, he was admitted to the hospital where fluid was drained and he returned home in about three days. That night, he fainted several times, but his defibrillator shocked his heart into some last, slow but steady beats.
A few days later, he enjoyed a final Easter with his wife, children and grandchildren. A week later, he was gone, dying in his sleep on the sofa in the living room. Donna and Shannon were with him. He was 64.
We were still in Gulf Shores, Alabama when I received word of Macky's death. It rained all day that day. Early the next morning, we pulled out and headed north where, once again, I asked my friend, Marilyn, to drive to Sharon Johnston Park Campground and get a spot secured for us. This is the campground that doesn't take credit cards and won't hold reservations without payment. As she had done last fall, Marilyn, drove to the campground, paid the fee and made sure we would be able to get into the park if we arrived after dark. It was raining here too, but allowed a break for us to set up the campsite.
Two rainy days later, following a kind and knowing eulogy by his pastor, Macky was laid to rest at the cemetery by the church where he and Donna were married. At the funeral home, the room was filled with crimson flowers honoring his love of University of Alabama football. A bright red tie with University of Alabama "A's" was tied neatly at his throat. Donna and Sherrie selected dozens of wonderful photos to be looped over and over again during family visitation. Friends and family came and shared our grief. The local bank president came by as did an old friend of Wayne's who lives in Huntsville and had met Macky once though we did not know it until now.
He was gone. The rain gave way again long enough for the burial. The air was cold though and I was glad I had several layers of clothes. I was reminded, as we made the long drive from the funeral home to the cemetery, of the southern way of stopping one's vehicle anytime a funeral procession is along the road. Not just private automobiles, mind you, but commercial vehicles and school buses too. This tradition gave me some comfort and reminded me why I proud to be from the South.
By some strange coincidence, our cousin on our Father's side and his wife were in town for a visit with their daughter, who lives in Huntsville. I let them know of Macky's death and the funeral services and they came, of course. I was thrilled to get to spend time with Louis, his wife, Rhonda and their daughter, Wesley, who it turned out, is a rocket scientist in Huntsville. Louis had not seen Macky in more than 40 years but his presence was so meaningful to me.
|Wayne, Rhonda, me, Louis and Wesley|
|Donna, Sherrie, Shannon, Donna's Mother and Father.|