God bless you.
This month, after waiting for more than two and a half years, I hope to receive my new heart at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn..
I've already made contact with the owner and pilot of a private charter plane. He assures me that he can be at a nearby private airport within 90 minutes ready for takeoff. He'd fly me in for $1,700. Mayo Clinic also has an air ambulance, that would cost $10,000, to be paid by my insurance company because they require air ambulances.
I live just 15 miles from that airport for private planes and I can get there in 20 minutes or less. The 365-mile flight will take roughly 90 minutes. And since I must be on the operating table 90 minutes after I get the call that a new heart is ready for me, I have roughly an hour of wiggle room to get me from the Rochester, Minn., Airport to the Mayo Clinic's St. Mary's Hospital, where the heart transplant surgeries are performed.
At times, I was a nervous wreck because there are other personal and family matters that I have to attend to.
The first priority is the successful transplantation of a new heart as soon as possible because I want to retire as soon as I get it. Otherwise, to retire beforehand and lose my affordable group health insurance coverage would devastate my family financially. I have rebuilt roughly three months of medical leave allowed in our union contract. A layoff at this point of my life and in the situations that I'm in would be a DEATH SENTENCE.
Another top priority is for me to start getting my pension that I thought I would have and should have had by now if the paper and Prudential had honored their Jan. 22, 2010 letter they sent me, which I was in the hospital fighting for my life and preparing for the Jan. 29 open-heart surgery.
That letter offered me the option of receiving my pension payout in one lump sum. But after more than two months after the Jan. 22 letter, and one month after they had given a fellow employee his lump sum payout, they not only refused to give me mine, they said the deadline for receiving a lump sum had expired at Jan. 1, 2010, three weeks before they sent me the letter officially offering me the lump sum option.
Another priority is the will for my wife Joyce and me. After years of promising to do it, I finally wrote out last will and testament last night. That, my sisters and brothers, was an awesome task.
It's one thing to write out your will at age 30, 40 or even 50 years old. But when you cross age 65, are fighting prostate cancer, have a cancerous tumor on your brain, are being sustained by a mechanical pump and are in dire need of a new heart, writing a will is a rueful reckoning with approaching death.
When I was a little boy, I was so much afraid of dead people and death. I wanted nothing to do with dead people because I feared that death was contagious. I preferred life, especially the youth of life when all things are fresh and your perception of all that you can see, hear, smell, touch, taste and imagine are so razor sharp and crystal clear. Add energy and agility to that youth and you are in a wonderland.
I was so in love with my youth that I went over behind a Mississippi barn one day and made a pact with myself, promising that I would never dare get old and die. Boy, was I one cock-eyed, naive, insane optimist!
Finally, and not too suddenly at all, I am sick while I am getting old. My grandson, Caleb, likes to remind Joyce and me, laughingly, "Y'all are old, grandpa. Just face it. Y'all are old. But don't worry. I still love you grandpa and grandma."
Yeah, that's well and good Caleb. But what I way to tell that to us.
So I sat down and finally wrote our Last Will and Testament that remains to be notarized and witnessed. The next thing we want to do, and it's something Joyce has been asking me to do for years, is to get our side-by-side burial plots.
I used to ask Joyce to promise me that she will never stop loving me and never marry another man. She agreed. Then I felt I was being too selfish. Then I had her to promise me that if she married another man, make sure that he isn't some broke guy, who only has sex to offer, and will have to move in with her and live in the house I paid for and sleep in the bed I slept in and live over the money and property I leave her. I'd rather he has a house he can move her into. Otherwise, she can do bad all by herself. Just date him and wish him well. But don't take on a son you'll have to take care of because you'll have far more than he does and you'll in essence be taking care of him.
I saw my mother-in-law completely forget and disrespect her first husband, the loving father of her children, the grandfather of my children, and the man who worked two and three jobs to buy her a house to live in and he financially set her up for life. But she married a man who was broke, in debt , moved in with her and even got her to put his name in her will to inherit everything her first husband acquired to give to her second husband and his daughter and other family members if my mother-in-law died first.
The whole affair sickens me, my wife and her sisters because the man, and sometimes only, man she praises in her life is her second husband, whose relatives stole half of their savings days after her second husband suffered a stroke one day and came back the next day to get the remaining $30,000.
So I beg, Joyce. Please, baby, don't do me that way. Always remember that I was your first love, the faithful, hard-working, loving father of our children, and the grandfather of our grandchildren. And if you marry again, make sure you marry somebody who has more money than you do. There are TOO MANY black women supporting black men who are good-for-nothing leeches, ingrates and deadbeats. Far, far too many!
I'm ol' school. If a man never thought enough for himself to get Jesus as his Savior, get a good education, a good job, make good money, save, get married, love his wife and children and help raised those kid, I, to be honest, don't have much respect at all for men living off of women because they are lazy and never grow up and assume responsibility for themselves and their family.
I don't want these guys as son-in-laws marrying my daughters or granddaughters and I sure don't want them likewise becoming husband to my widowed wife.
Things like this came to mind while I sat down writing our will. We're allowing for some money to go to my grandchildren. But it will only be for their education and they must be law-abiding, hard-working, serious-minded students, who are in good standing with some educational institution and maintaining a grade average no less than a C.
I pray that it will be a long time before our Will have to be opened up because one of us has died. But just in case, that Will makes sure our earthly affairs will be in order. Our heavenly affairs were taken care of long, log ago. Our final retirement in the cosmic condo of heaven is already paid up in full. Jesus paid it all. All to Him we owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. But He washed it white as snow.
God bless you.