My father-in-law passed away yesterday in the early hours of the morning. He was the son of Croatian immigrants. He served in the US Navy during World War II and as an officer in the Air Force during the Korean War. He became a much-beloved pediatrician, was chief of staff at a large hospital and taught a generation or two of medical students. He loved his wife of 63 years and has now reunited with her. He leaves behind four children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
He will be greatly missed by all of us.
It didn’t begin with the inevitable phone call, but months before, after a visit to a physician. We all knew at some point this time would come, but somehow when the doctor’s predicted timeline was surpassed, we began to push the thought into those deep, dark recesses of our brain. Never quite forgotten, but not in the forefront of our daily ponderings.
Then, last week on a Thursday morning, it came followed by the mindless packing of clothing into a suitcase (without caring if anything matched), calling our sons, stopping the mail and the newspaper, and watering the plants. Hours of driving were filled with the quiet of reflection, grief, and disbelief. Each action seemed to be only possible because of our bodies’ repetition over the years of those same maneuvers.
Pressing a button and waiting impassively for the voice on the intercom to allow us entry into the facility…
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