I wanted to thank all of you for your kind comments in the last post, and in emails and in posts in other weblogs. They meant a lot to me, particularly just after Dad’s death when I was trying to work this through. I am still working this through, and will for time to come; but I wanted to share a couple of positive memories with you, including some humorous items because we Irish, we’re always up for a giggle at a Wake.
The nursing and other staff members at Bell Trace, the retirement community where Dad ended his days, was marvelous during the last few days. They moved Dad’s roommate into another room so we could stay with Dad 24 hours a day. And they also kept bringing us food, such as the 3am tray one of the attendents provide that had a bag of crackers and cheese and cookies, with lemon pie served that day to go with coffee and juice. In the midwest, comfort is provided by food and the staff was determined we were going to eat and drink well during this time. Several also visited individually to tell Mike and I how much they respected the decisions we made; to provide hugs, and quiet chats, as we were dealing with individual events. They were incredibly kind and caring.
One of the nurses, Sharon, was there throughout most of the weekend and when I met her, she asked what Dad did for a living. I said that he had served in WW II and had been a cop most of his life. She replied, “Well that explains it. When he first arrived here, I asked him what he did, and he said that he did nothing. When I asked him what he did before he retired, he said that he …killed Germans.”
In the end Dad spent most of his time in World War II, and he always was a very frank and rather literal person. Still, the look on Sharon’s face as she recounted what he said was priceless.
As priceless as the look on folks face when they read what my brother wrote for the obituary in the newspaper:
He retired in 1975 as a fraud investigator for the State of Washington. Prior to that, he worked in positions that served his community, state, and country, including: Washington State Patrol officer, County Deputy Sheriff, South Viet Nam Police Advisor (and secret agent), and Captain and paratrooper in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in World War II.
Again, my thanks to you all.