One of my favorite recent memories of my Pop B was a few summers ago. We sat quietly on the porch at the beach in Southern Shores. Just the two of us. He asked me about work. Trying to understand what I did, he listened and hummed and stared out in the ocean. Neither one of us said much, but didn’t need to. We were in our favorite place, a place that I’ve always loved because of him.
I always knew my Pop B was a special man. He was the doctor in a small town and growing up I remember thinking he was famous because everywhere we went, people seemed to know him. Maybe that's because it was a small town but I think it's more about the kind of man he was. The real impact that he had on that small town didn’t hit me until his death. The weekend of his funeral was spent busying ourselves around my grandparents’ home, in between meetings with visitors. Each one had a story of how my Pop B or “Dr. B” helped them. Many of them coming to tears when sharing their stories. We just listened. Took it in and said thank you.
I’ve never been good at saying goodbye. When he was dying, I had the chance to fly down and see him in the hospital. But, I couldn’t make myself. My parents, brother, uncles, aunts and cousins saw him but I couldn’t go. Though I visited with my grandmother at the hospital, I wanted to forever remember my Pop B the way I’d always known him - sitting in his chair in my grand parents’ living room.
He wears his shiny loafers with dark socks to his calves, shorts that show the whitest legs you’ve ever seen. Wrapped around him is his favorite yellow sweater. He turns to the door as I enter and stands to say, “Hey Meredith!” We hug. That’s how I remember him. Not sick, not hurting. Just sitting in his chair, nodding in and out of sleep, happy to have his family around him. That’s my Pop B.