I spent part of Thursday afternoon in palliative care, visiting the best sports fan I know – Bill Klempp.
He’s a cousin of my late father. When I walked in and nudged Bill from his light sleep, he started smiling and reached out to hug me. We had never hugged before.
He told me he loves me, he was proud of me and was very glad to see me. Bill likes every sport, but particularly curling and CFL football. It was one day after the Chicago Cubs’ big victory.
“Unbelievable!” Bill said a couple times in a raspy voice. We were holding hands. Bill is 81 and it’s the first time he has seen the Cubs win a World Series.
“I’m all in,” he said.
“I won’t be here for Christmas.”
We talked about the Roughriders’ future. He’s a bit worried. We talked about the soccer, curling and football games we watched together. We laughed quite a few times. I thanked him for being the heart of our family. My eyes were watering.
Bill was the guy who put together our family tree, who kept everyone updated. I hadn’t heard from him in awhile, something I regret, until his sister called to tell me about Bill’s fading health. I got there as soon as I could and stayed as long as I could. It wasn’t long enough.