Today is November 22nd, 2021. It's an emotional day for me. One year ago, my father went home to be with Jesus. I was the one that held his hand, prayed into his ear, and told him it was okay to go home to be with his wife as he took his last breath. It was the most bittersweet moment in my life. On one hand, I lost the man who raised me. Yes, he was my grandfather, but he was so much more. I am Kenneth Joseph Carfagno III. I was named after him. Ken Senior otherwise affectionately known to me as "Pop-Pop" was only 40 when I was born. My dad was 18 and still figuring out how to adult in the world, so my Pop-Pop took me under his wing. He is the one that raised me up and encouraged me to achieve. He is the one that showed up at my sports events. My dad did too of course, but not as often as my Pop-Pop. He is the one that was tough and demanded excellence out of me. He is the one that taught me life skills around the house. He is the one that showed me how to love by staying happily married from age 20 to his death at 84. He is the one that believed in me and challenged me to be better. He is the one that I loved more than any man on this planet. He is the man that I called father. One year ago, Kenneth Joseph Carfagno, Sr left this earth and thus left a huge void in my heart.
But on the other side, my Pop-Pop was a life-long Catholic and didn't have any assurance of his position as a citizen of heaven after he died. He just did the best he could and hoped he was good enough. That changed a few weeks before his death when he truly accepted Jesus to be his Lord and Savior. When he breathed his last breath, I turned to the nurses who had tears streaming down their faces. The one in total shock and awe. The other said this. "I have seen so many end-of-life scenarios in my time in hospice nursing, but I have never seen what I just saw." I was in a state of total peace after my time of prayer and conversation as I walked my father home and asked her what she meant. "Your father's pulse, breathing, and other vitals were rising and falling with every word you uttered to him. He not only heard everything, but I have never seen anybody with the connection the two of you just had." I was speechless. Make of this what you want, but you'll never convince me otherwise that the Holy Spirit wasn't operating and ushering my father's spirit with Him to heaven.
This is a short episode and I want to thank you for allowing me to share the gift known as Pop-Pop. It's been a whole year and I still grieve and cry. We just sold his home of 50 years, the one that I grew up in, and took whatever keepsakes we wanted. Life is so short and this last 12 months have shown me this. If you have lost one or both of your parents, my heart truly goes out to you. I understand how painful it is. Here's my consolation. It's not over for you to make the impact on your loved ones the way Pop-Pop made an impact on me. If you've been semi-absent or too busy to get to the relationships in your life, it's not too late to start.
I want to end this episode with a few funny stories about my Pop-Pop and share his favorite piece of advice to me. He would say this. "Kenny, winners never quit and quitters never win." This advice has helped me so many times in life. I hope it speaks to you. Thank you for listening and go make a difference. Be the "Pop-Pop" in someone's life.
"Helping cleaning professionals make the impact they were meant to make."