Categorized | Opinion

Always with me ‘Buddy’

By Candace Robello

Porterfield got a chance to celebrate his younger son’s birthday this year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Millington Star set down with Graig Porterfield two holiday seasons ago for a feature story on him battling his illness to see his son who was going off to fight the War on Terrorism. Recently Porterfield passed away and his sister Candace paid tribute to her late brother.

He had been suffering with Stage 4 lung cancer for maybe four or five months. He had several chemo treatments. Once he moved in with me, we had all the family over for supper one night.

We were on the back patio. He said, ‘Y’all I want to share something.’

He told us about one day after one of his treatments he was very sick and he was over the commode just getting sicker. He was sicker than he ever been. He said, ‘Lord please do something about this. Help me get through this.’

Then he said all of sudden like a black light went across his face. It was dark. Then he said the next thing he saw was the Pearly Gates. Jesus was standing right there saying ‘Come on. It’s time to come now.’

My Brother said, ‘I looked on both side of me. And there were just these precious jewels on both sides of me.’ It just gives me chill bumps.

‘Just these precious jewels. Sissy they were the prettiest jewels you’ll ever see. And they were just standing on both sides.’

He said he stood there and thought to himself, ‘I’m not ready.’

I asked him, ‘What were the jewels? What was that all about?’

‘That was you all Sissy. That was my family.’ He said I wasn’t ready. He asked Jesus if he could please stay. ‘Just a little bit longer Lord. I want to make sure my family comes with me. I want to make sure they’re prepared. I want to see them in Heaven.’

He said that Jesus kept telling him he could come. But he kept asking Jesus, ‘Please just a little bit longer.’

We had him two more years after that. Buddy was all about his family. He loved his family and he loves God. He always served the Lord.

When asked, ‘Why not me?’ His attitude was why not me? What makes me any better than the next person. In most people’s selfish way they would be like, ‘But you’re so good. You’re always serving the Lord. You go to churches and sing the gospel.’

I would have questioned why me if I were in his shoes. He just never questioned it. He was strong in his faith. He loved us and wanted to make sure we were saved.

Another thing non-believers could look at, 10 days before he passed. He went into ICU. Doctors got a hold to Red Cross and said it’s time to call his son (Graig) in. It’s time for him to be flown in because the time has come.

The nurses were getting in touch with Red Cross. We asked the nurses not to let Buddy know his son was being flown in because we didn’t want  him to know he gotten that sick. But I be darn, that nurses came in and said ‘Mr. Porterfield?’

He looked up from his hospital bed. ‘Do you have a son in the service?’ Buddy said, ‘Yes I do.’

‘Well good news, we’ve got a hold to Red Cross and they’re going to fly him in.’

He set up in bed and said, ‘Well am I that sick?’

You know he recovered that little episode to go home. He had that much strength. He didn’t want to go before his son came home. He got over that battle enough to get off life support and come home.

I was there with him holding his hands when they unplugged him from the machines. They took him up to the fifth floor. That was it.

It’s like I told him, ‘I will remember him in the trees, him in the water.’ And I do, I see him in everything I look at. I will remember him for his faith. Don’t ever, ever turn your back on anyone. Always find the good in people.

His tender heart I will remember. He taught me to talk to anybody. And that’s how you meet people.

He taught us kindness, goodness and you never meet a stranger.

Look what it lead to. People will see that he was suffering. But there is a God and Buddy is still with us. My father got baptized during that time. I did. We all got back into church.

We all came together as a family and we’re all still together as a family lending on one another.

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