This week a Member of my family was left with the noble task of planning HER best and dearest friend’s final farewell. HE passed away this past Monday. HE had been good and constant in HER life for the last 12 years. They meet on the dance floor, where they both enjoyed the steady, closed position of 3/4 time. Their friendship started on a dance floor and ended on the 6th floor of a Tulsa hospital.
HIS 2, 3, 4 time daily phone calls stopped 10 days prior to HIS passing. HE had been assaulted in November of last year, in and out of the hospital a couple of times with a brain bleed, this time HE would never make it home. HIS wishes had always been communicated to HER, yet SHE had never been given a copy, just a key and minor instructions. So through HER grief I pushed HER in HER wheelchair through the halls of the hospital after the last farewell. I placed HER in the car to go to HIS home, to prepare for HIS final resting place. HE had told HER many of HIS wishes, but we were unable to find HIS final instructions. Until today, maybe SHE was merely blinded by HER grief or hoping that HIS written instruction would not be as hard as what HE had conveyed. They weren’t.
While searching HIS desk top for HIS wishes, I spied a TV above that had two things written in bold black marker on the frame around the screen. One was HER phone number and the other being HIS. I guess HE never wanted to forget how to reach HER.
HE had lived HIS life a very simple man, HE had few possessions, only necessities really, and a stock pile of dog treats. A small shanty of a home that had walls of HIS mother’s quilts pinned up like wall paper, HIS truck, a boat, and three amazing dogs. Pictures tacked to the wall of family from years gone by, others of beloved pets that had passed, fishing photos, HIS granddaughter’s funeral flier and HER.
HE once had a family, 3 daughters that HE loved from afar, HE and their mother had parted when they were young. HE couldn’t really talk about it, the hurt was too hard. HE had been estranged from them due to HIS faults or a vindictive ex-wife, but I have no way to know that for sure. HE wasn’t an easy man by the time SHE, his dance partner, met HIM, HE was hardened by great loss, time in the military and hard work. The shell may have been hard but inside danced a light, sure footed, soft shoe. Several years ago one of HIS daughters along with her daughter, HIS granddaughter, whom HE had never meet, passed away. Through HIS grief HE took HER, HIS dance partner, and together they attended the funeral. HE needed HER strength to get HIM through it. HE was able to talk with HIS other two daughters but the lost time was too vast. They didn’t know that HE had kept track of them from a distance, sadder yet they didn’t seem to care. HE was and would continue to be a stranger to them, HE didn’t push them, despite HIM craving any contact HE could get. For reasons that are known only to HIM, HE had become estranged from almost everyone in HIS family, with the exception of one, a niece that HE still held in high regards. If HE had not been survived by HER, HIS dance partner the niece was to be making HIS final plans instead.
I was not a stranger to HIM. I had met HIM on many occasions during those twelve years. THEY even had lunch on a Sunday at my house last fall. I found HIM to be ornery, loud due to deafness, and a gentleman hiding in a harden shell. HE told us stories, talked of fishing, shared HIS cooking talents and recipes. We laughed, we ate and we enjoyed the spirit of a beautiful fall day. I had also rushed HER to hospital last November to see HIM in the hospital, after being assaulted. I drove HIM home the next day, not realizing that it would be the last time that I would see HIM, walking, talking or waving goodbye. The last time we saw HIM alive was Sunday night, SHE held HIS hand and talked to HIM, though HE was unresponsive. Like many nights before SHE told HIM that SHE loved HIM. HE was gone by the time we returned the next day. SHE had only missed HIM by a less than a half hour.
The assault was by two neighbors, men half HIS age, whom HE had a tumultuous relationship with for years. They had left HIM for dead after beating and kicking HIM unconscious. One of them had assaulted HIM before the Judge threw it out, due to HIM saying something off color to the man. The man was standing in HIS face with a camera not allowing HIM to pass by the man’s home in order to walk on a public walking trail with HIS dogs. Of course the only part the Judge say was what HE said. It was strangely edited to not include what the man had done to provoke HIM to cuss the man. It’s funny how that happens. This time though HE was thrown into some tall grass, bleeding and unconscious. HIS only salvation was a life alert button that HE was able to push. HE had laid there for a while because by the time the police and ambulance arrived, the blood on HIS face had already started clotting and drying. Life Alert called HER as the person to contact in case of an emergency, and though the distance was great for me to reach HER, us to reach HIM, we made it to the hospital, just after HE did. HE was conscious enough to tell us what HE remembered.
Detectives were called in but nothing was ever done. See it seems that when the police and ambulance showed up, the two men whom had attacked HIM, then dragged HIM out of his truck, got scared and decided to report that HE had assaulted them as a cover-my-own-butt defense. I guess it worked for them. The day after the assault as I drove HIM home, one of these men came out on his porch, screaming obscenities and stating that he was sorry to see HE had made it home. I’m convinced of his total innocents in the whole affair. Total sarcasm on my part. Monday, I did take the time to call the detective on the case and report that HE had passed from the brain bleed that started from the assault, yet I never heard a response, nothing on any of the 3 phone numbers that I left. So, I guess they have won.
While picking up some of his personal effects the following day the neighbor lady across the street, came out, taking pictures of us as we drove in, she alerted one of the assailants female housemates, and they stood watching us. I was so glad for the brutal cold winds. Then a short time later a man drove into the drive across the street, they sent him over to check on us. He came over through the neighbor’s yard not getting on the property. Wanting to know what was going on, from the looks of him he had just arrived home from work. I say this because of the time of day, around 3:30 in the afternoon. When she told the man that the men had finally killed HIM, He stated that, they (he and his wife) had seen the whole thing. HE had gone up on the neighbor’s porch. The neighbor came out and attacked him for being on his property. Strange part of his story in my head was that no one alerted the police, no one did anything, and it was HE, HIMSELF who alerted the police sometime later by HIS Life Alert button. The police found HIS truck in the middle of the street, like he was pulling out of HIS drive, two doors down, running with the dogs all sitting in their spots. 2 hours prior to the assault HE had been on the phone talking with HER, only to get off to go vote before the lunch crowd. How did a man witness the whole thing during his normal working hours and not alert the authorities. Something doesn’t ring up about his story. Maybe he is protecting the two men out of fear or friendship. Just my thoughts. I guess it is not up to me. Someone also stole several items from HIS truck that the police pulled back into the drive and did not lock up; put the keys in the floorboard.
Why am I writing this? Not really to sway anyone to my opinions, only to say, that despite HIS loud voice, (People didn’t understand that if HE wasn’t looking at you HE couldn’t hear you, HE wasn’t ignoring you, HE hated HIS hearing aids.) HIS colorful language, HIS orneriness, despite HIS eccentric ways, despite it all. HE was a true friend, a proud honorable soldier, a human being, and a giving gentleman. HE may not have given as others though HE should, but in the end HE gave again of HIMSELF, you see HE was an organ and tissue donor, HIS body can continue to give to those truly in need. HE had also been a regular Red Cross blood donor, making numerous donations. Seems pretty unselfish to me.
It was HIS final wish that no services be held that HIS body be cremated, no fuss. “Why should they come honor me now?” HE told HER. So, I wanted to tell you all about HIM to Thank HIM for HIS daily calls, HIS concern and the true love of friendship that HE heaped on HER, HIS last dancing partner. HE enhanced HER life, gave HER a reason to get up every morning, as SHE did HIM. SHE now has the girls (dogs), they will all be taken care of until they are chasing balls in the sky, though one still cries for HIM, they are doing well. HE will be forever missed by HER (my mother), HER family, HIS niece and family, a few friends, three amazing dogs, and ME. May HIS pain be over, HIS heart be unburdened and HIS rest be a sweet piece.
He was a Simple Kind of Man.