Veterans Day Memories

Since last year, Veterans Day is a special day to me. It is a day that I experienced the death of a WWII Veteran. Someone who served in the US Navy (although I don’t think he ever left US soil), and was proud of his navy service.

Last year, on Veterans Day, my father died, after spending almost a month in intensive care after an automobile accident. You can find the whole story at grandpa_a. Tonight (in advance of tomorrow) I’m reposting two memories, slightly edited.


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Chronicling a Life and a Death

Whilst doing the morning tea-cooling reading, I read an interesting post by theferrett about blogs of people that have died. This made me think back to last year at this time when I was calling the hospital daily for the status of my dad. The post on October 26, 2004 said:

Just spoke to Gil, who was back as nurse today. Alas, there wasn’t much to report. He’s about the same. He’s on the norcuron, which has improved his venting. He’s still pretty sedated. He has no fever, and his BP is fine. His hands aren’t quite as swollen.

Gil pointed out that we’re now in the hard period. Right after the accident, we had a lot of news. Now, we’re in the slow healing phase, and we’re likely not to have significant reports until his lungs and ribs heal more. Thus, it’s wait, wait, wait. I hate the waiting, but there’s not much I can do about it.

Possibly this evening I’ll have some photos of the vehicle; I may scan one or two for folks to see.

Again, if you have questions you want me to ask the nurse when I call, please let me know.

Later that evening I received the pictures of the damage to the car. I chronicled the whole thing, from the time of the accident until his death and funeral, on a LiveJournal blog, grandpa_a.

It is amazing how a simple post can bring that all back. I still miss him.


It’s Over

The funeral for my dad, grandpa_a, is over. Some various observations before I get back to packing the leftover food 🙂

  • It’s really nice to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in ages. Why is it that we (far too often) wait until a funeral to reconnect?
  • The custom of “identification” (i.e., the family getting one last chance to say goodbye to the deceased before the casket is closed and the funeral starts) is nice. It erases that image in your head of the final view in the hospital.
  • I must be a better writer than I thought. People really were moved by the eulogy that I wrote (posted here as the remembrance post). For those that have to do this: share your memories, not the history.
  • The custom of shoveling the dirt is a good one. It does give one that finality that one needs.
  • For those planning to receive visitors after the funeral, remember that not everyone comes back to (whereever). We had loads and loads of leftovers, which we will be freezing, and which we sent home with some other relatives.
  • The LJ community was represented by gyesika and profstevie. Although I didn’t get a chance to come over and talk to you, I thank you for being there and representing not only yourself, but my new group of friends in this community.
  • It is nice to be around friends and family at a time like this.

Lastly, for those in the greater LA area who want to join us, we’ll be at the “Come As You Are” Shabbat Services at Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village tomorrow night.


Getting Ready

Today is my father’s funeral. So far, I’m holding it pretty well together—I think I got most of the weepies out the night he died. It will probably hit me as the service starts.

So, I’m just sitting home this morning, entering stuff into Quicken and perusing LJ. In a little bit, we’re going to be getting the stuff together for the “reception” (what is the right word for the thing after the funeral?). In any case, it should be a busy day. Don’t be surprised to see a meme or too, as I divert my attention this morning.


It’s Getting Closer…

…and I’m trying not to think about it. Tomorrow at this time I’ll be meeting with Rabbi Sherwood, doing the identification, saying my final goodbyes to my father, and in general steeling myself for the funeral which starts at 1:00 PM PST.

It’s been a long week, what with arranging the funeral, making the phone calls, sorting through the finances to see what Rae (my stepmother) and I are going to need to do after the funeral, dealing with the raw emotions that come out of everyone involved at this time. The logistics behind this are incredible, and I thank everyone who has been helping with them. Of course, I only get a few days off of work, so I’ve been working yesterday and today, working to get all the conference stuff out in time for textbooks to come in. The upcoming weekends are crazy as well, as folks who have seen my travel postings know.

So, I keep muddling through…


Reminder: Status Updates in my Dad’s Blog

As a reminder, I’m posting at least twice daily status updates on my father’s condition in his blog, grandpa_a. It seems to be slowly improving, although not as fast as I would like (I want him well and whole, dammit!). Some things that I would think (being a layperson) are a step back, according to the nurses, are forward movement (such as the tracheotomy). Somtimes I wonder if I’m doing the right thing, but luckily, that’s his wife’s decision to make. My sister-in-law pointed out that he should be fully functional (both mentally and physically) when he is healed, and if he wanted to go, he would have gone by now. So, I’ll just keep plugging away, praying for his speedy recovery.