We came home this evening about 6:30 from NY. My father passed away on June 10 at 2:30pm. We made it to my parents' home at 10:30 that morning; we had 4 hours with him, though he didn't know it. His illness was terminal; the time diagnosis went much quicker than anyone expected. May 26 he was given 3 to 6 months; on June 2, it was "a few weeks" and on June 8, it was 3 to 4 days.
All his kids made it home; some of the grandchildren did not. One granddaughter came in from Hawaii; one from Las Vegas. One son and wife and grandson from Seattle; one son, wife, granddaughter, grandson and great-grandson from Minneapolis; husband and I from northern Minnesota; one son and wife and their 3 kids from Massachusetts. The others still live in NY.
All family, old and young; brothers, in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews; former co-workers; neighbors past and present; and every neighborhood kid who had ever stepped into my parents' home, friends of my brothers and sister for 40 years -- and there were dozens of them -- came to pay their respects to my father.
The wake was beautiful; the funeral mass exceptional. Pop was given a military salute by 2 Navy representatives because of his service during WWII. Mom was presented with the American flag.
My father could not have been more honored and respected if he had been a wealthy man or a well known politician. We were all honored. If he could see the throngs of people and the beautiful solemn arrangements made to pay him homage, he would've been quite embarrassed --- and then very proud of his family. And I know he DID see it all. Not physically, but spiritually.
Mom held up very well. She is doing well. I know there will be days and nights when she misses him very much - they were married for 61 1/2 years. But I hope that knowings her kids are always there for her will help eleviate some of the loneliness.
I know Pop is so proud of us all -- as we have been of him all of our lives, but never more than when he peacefully, humbly and graciously left our world for his eternal world, and left us with all our memories of him to last our lifetime.
Love you, Pop.
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