18 April 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge 2013: P is for Papa - Robert Bruce McClendon, Jr.

Robert Bruce McClendon, Jr., 1984

Robert Bruce McClendon, Jr. is my late father-in-law, born 24 January 1935 in Modoc, South Carolina. He died 12 May 1987 in Anderson County, South Carolina. He was fifty-two years old.

Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that we were with him. Other times, it seems an entire lifetime ago...and, in reality, it was. It has been so hard as the kids have come along, not having him to share this milestone or that one. He passed away just before Jared's 1st birthday, so he didn't even get to be there for that milestone. It has been hard. I love him as much as I do my own daddy. And, no matter what David's mama says to the contrary, I know David's daddy - Papa Bruce - loved me, too.

Robert Bruce McClendon, Jr. with Sandra and David, 1965.
The last night that he was alive, we played a bratty trick on him, of course, not knowing it was his last night to be alive. He was babysitting Jared while David and I went out for a night on the town. We went to dinner and to see Crocodile Dundee. When we got back, Papa and Jared both were asleep. Papa was asleep in his chair and Jared was asleep in the portable crib. We quietly picked up Jared and somehow managed not to wake this child and snuck out of the house with him. Then, we called Papa and asked him "How is Jared?" The next words were "Oh my- you got him!"

 It was so tremendously funny at the time. The next
morning, it wasn't so funny anymore. In our hearts we
wonder to this day if that had anything to do with the timing of his aortic dissection. In our heads, we know just from looking at pictures taken the week before that he was on his way out. Our little prank didn't kill him....his heart did. His lips were so blue in those week-before pics...I don't know how we didn't see it then, but we didn't.

Then he was gone, and it is like a whole book has been written since then, but we weren't allowed to even finish the first chapter before being forced onward.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Denise. He was a very big part of my life for far too brief a moment.

      Have a blessed evening.


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