My brother-in-law’s dad, Henry, died this morning.
Death is nearly always sad. This is no exception.
Henry’s grandson, Matt, is getting married this weekend. It’s a shame these two events will be forever linked.
What strikes me about Henry’s death is how quickly it happened. A month ago he was living by himself in Florida. In his late 80s, he was still self-sufficient.
Then he fell.
No one knows for sure, but falling seems to be a symptom of larger breakdowns, not the cause.
It became clear Henry needed help and monitoring. They brought him to Milwaukee; the same assisted living place as my folks. He was there very briefly.
The remainder of Henry’s life, just a few weeks, was spent going from hospital to rehab facility and back. He was losing weight rapidly. His speech became less clear and at times not speech at all.
Last weekend Henry’s sons and their wives went to Florida to begin the process of closing his life there. My niece, Melissa, was put in charge.
Here’s what she wrote in her blog last Saturday:
received a call from Grandpa. He was really confused. “Where are you? I don’t know where I am. Where’s your Grandpa? Where’s Jeff?” I told Grandpa I’d be over soon, but it would take me about an hour, as I was way out West for a friend’s party. I would also have Jeff, my dad, call him. “How will you find me? I don’t even know where I am! Where will he call me?” I assured him that he was safe and I knew where he was. I’d be there soon.
“He looks like he’s dying,” my sister said on the phone yesterday. And so he did this morning.
Death is more than your heart stopping. Henry died, today but he stopped living a few weeks ago. It must have been very frustrating for him as his brain no longer performed as it had for so long.
We’re all sad to see him go.
As a grownup you understand there are times death itself is the least bad outcome.