Vanderboegh Shows Strength and Dignity Preparing for ‘Other Side’
I drove down from my home in Ohio to see Mike Vanderboegh this weekend at his home in Alabama. I was able to spend some time with him on Friday night and again on Saturday morning.
His appearance is about what you’d expect for a man who told us a week ago the doctors have given him four weeks to live – there’s no need to dwell on that here. After years of friendship, it was important for me to see him face-to-face, and to show him how much I valued the blessing of knowing him. In fact, grim and sad as the reason for my trip was, I told Mike I not only considered making it one blessing, but two: That there are people in my life I care enough about to make such a trip for, and that I have the means and the capability to do it.
It’s about 12 hours each way (with stops for gas and to get the circulation going again), meaning I had time Friday evening to visit with Mike, and his steadfast wife, Rosey, for a little over an hour. Mike was lying on the couch for the duration. Pain is being managed, such as it can be, with a patch. I kept the visit short, not just because I didn’t want to overdo things for him, but I was also pretty tired. I returned to their house Saturday morning, where they were joined by their loving daughters, there to help with a garage sale. For that, I was happy to see him able to sit in a chair, supervise the goings-on, and engage with people. The man’s strength of will is incredible.
Noting he had to drag himself from the couch to a chair in the garage by a space heater for a garage sale, now’s as good a time as any to make my pitch, and this one doesn’t go to everybody, but only to a specific subset of readers:
If you’ve received value from Mike’s work, you know it, and only you can determine the value you think you should return. To do that, you can make a gratitude offering in recognition of the value you received. There’s a PayPal “Donate” button in the right sidebar at Sipsey Street Irregulars, or if you don’t like using them, checks or money orders (made out to “Mike Vanderboegh”) and cash can be sent to him at PO Box 926, Pinson, AL 35126. And, as always, I’ll ask you to be a force multiplier and to spread the word.
Our conversation didn’t center on being maudlin, but rather on the freedom issues of the day that have always occupied his attention when he was well enough to research and comment on them. Men don’t do hand-wringing, sob-sister stuff, at least around Mike Vanderboegh. I did pass along messages of concern his many friends have shared with me, and he appreciates that, and the support — in good will and in more tangible ways — some of you have shown him.
Of particular interest to Mike (among the many things we discussed, from “men” in women’s bathrooms, to the presidential race, to our oath to the Constitution and more), was the latest noise being made about Fast and Furious “gunwalking,” and the wholly unsurprising revelation that the stonewalling continues. We also talked about the transition of his beloved Sipsey Street Irregulars blog to his son Matthew, who is off to a strong start, and I committed to doing what I can to support the continuation of the legacy.
Mike did share plans for his memorial, which I think will be more appropriate to leave to an announcement from Matt when he thinks the time is appropriate. He also shared a significant regret about his imminent passing, but it was not one of self-pity or of desperation to escape – it’s that he won’t be around to do his part in the trying times he sees coming.
That pretty much defines my friend, and defines the lessons I have tried to learn from him, albeit imperfectly and not without struggles on my part – strength of will, sense of commitment, and faith in God. Without a miracle, that’s the last time I will see him on this earth, and the next time I return will be to remember him.
“I’ll see you on the other side, my friend,” were the last words Mike Vanderboegh said to me in person as he took my hand to say goodbye. “Ain’t none of us getting out of this alive.”