This is a slightly edited version of the email message I sent to family and friends this morning, sharing difficult news.
Some of you have already heard, but I know this will be a surprise for many of you. I am sad to report that my dad passed away last evening, Friday, December 27, around 8:15 p.m., about two hours after Vern arrived at the hospital.
His condition had deteriorated since the aspiration of his feeding tube on Christmas Eve. Given conversations with him before the surgery and how he was able to communicate after, especially the last couple of days (in hand gestures and in writing), our decision to let him go was unambiguous and unanimous. He was facing the need for a tracheostomy to help him breathe, the prognosis for his kidney function was not good, and if he did recover enough to leave the hospital, he would be facing a long stay in a nursing facility.
Dad was an independent man. Part of his original resistance to having the aneurysm repaired when it was first discovered a couple years ago centered around the post-surgical recovery time. He couldn’t imagine that he’d have to go at least a month without driving.
We were all gathered around his bedside in the ICU—me, my brothers Vern and John, John’s wife, Cindy, and daughter, Katy, Dad’s girlfriend, Rose Marie, Uncle Paul (Dad’s younger brother), Aunt Barb, and my cousins Meredith and Nate. After praying with the hospital chaplain and taking our moments to say goodbye, Dad passed even before the nurses had a chance to begin final preparations. It seemed fitting that he would go out on his own terms.
We are in the process of figuring out the arrangements and will be in touch as soon as they’re finalized.
Thank you all for holding him and us up in prayer. We are sad, but we are at peace that he is at peace.
Love to you all.
Below is a photo of my mom and dad, taken on a Nag’s Head, North Carolina vacation in the late ’70s or early ’80s. (Note Vern’s photo bomb to the left.)
This is how I like to remember them both—young, healthy, together again.