Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Benny died. He told us he was going to. On Thursday morning he woke up and said, "I don't want any more medicine. I'm ready to die. I just want to do God's will. Do you think its God's will?" I told him I thought he had a pretty good line on God, that he and God would work it out. As for the medicine, that was okay. "Just for the pain." So he laid down to die.

By Monday, he opened his eyes and said, "Is this heaven?" I had the almost overwhelming urge to say, "No, this is Iowa," but didn't. Instead, I told him it wasn't quite, but that he had one foot over the threshold. I sat beside his bed and read the 139th Psalm from his tattered bible. "...if I take the wings of the morning and  dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there...."

Ben knew poverty like the back of his hand. He told stories of the Dust Bowl and couldn't forget it, couldn't forget the starving grasshoppers blackening the light as they gathered at the windows like pestilence, eating the curtains, the wooden sash. He couldn't forget the war and didn't tell those stories. Them that say do not know, them that know do not say. He loved soup and hash browns and his wife, who just passed last month. After she died, there was a family reunion to live for -- in Iowa, actually, which would have made it all the more confusing and unfair had I taken the self-indulgent opportunity to quote Field of Dreams in his time of transcendence. So he made it to the reunion, bought a cowboy hat in Iowa, came home and died in the arms of his beloved family.

1 comment:

asha said...

Sweet. Bye-bye Benny.