The Useful Duck!

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What happened at our house the day after Thanksgiving.

My father-in-law passed away the day after Thanksgiving.
He was 92 years of age.
Thanksgiving was a good day for him. Grandchildren came to visit him. He actually sat at the table and ate. He had somewhat of a conversation with his handicapped granddaughter, who sat with him for much of the afternoon. He watched football, he talked a little bit.
The next day he was worn out. He passed away around 4:30 in the afternoon. My wife and one of her sisters were setting with him when it happened.
Hospice was really good. They even called the mortuary.
My father-in-law was an unassuming man. He did not want a funeral service. The plan is to spread his ashes at his favorite swimming hole this spring.
Sometimes funerals are for the living. There are family members who need closure. Funerals give us a chance to acknowledge our shared history and are an important social ritual.
I don't like funerals or weddings and try to avoid them.
But I digress,
My father-in-law was a veteran.
He served in WWII as a medic. He was a Conscientious Objector and refused to carry a gun. He was selected for doctor training but would have had to carry a sidearm for self defense.
He worked as an x-ray technician and was in the Battle of the Bulge.
He told us a story about riding across France in the back of an Army truck.
He threw his duffle bag in the back but the truck was really crowded. A friend called him to ride in a different less crowded truck so he didn't get in the truck with his bag.
The truck with his bag slid off of an ice covered bridge into a river. A number of soldiers drowned. His bag was found down river and it was assumed he also drowned.
When he walked into the mess hall that evening it caused quite a shock.

I have two uncles who are in their 90's. I hope they wait a little while. Once I get over my severe cold I think I'll do some visiting...

We are going to Florida for Christmas this year. I got personal leave time from work. My supervisor says he thinks he might be able to get it counted as bereavement time and I may even get paid.


  1. Hope it works out for you. I'm sure your wife could use some time away, too.

  2. i loved your florida vacay - cant wait to see the pix. it would be a nice break. i'm very sorry about your FIL - what an amazing life. good on him for enjoying Thanksgiving.

  3. It sounds like he was blessed with a meaningful life and family around him until the end. We worked with hospice when my mother was coming to the end of the road. They were very good people to work with.

    Grace and peace.

    1. Really wish folks I know would hold off on dying for a while. Sounds kind of selfish but it is bringing me down

  4. Condolences to you and wifes family .
    Funerals here are family reunions . Friends and old aquaintences not seen for years often show up.


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