Three weeks ago yesterday, Dad came wandering into my office as he often did for coffee and conversation. He drank his normal half cup of coffee, and then continued on about his day.
Yesterday, we laid him to rest.
The trouble began three weeks ago today, when he began to lose function in his legs. A late night trip to the ER, followed by a transfer to Methodist in DM. There the problem was diagnosed as a tumor on his spine, creating pressure that was paralyzing him from the waist down.
We began radiation therapy, which showed early promise but then stalled out. After a couple of weeks of treatments, Dad decided enough was enough. He was tired of being nauseous and tired, and just wanted to be comfortable. The last goal he had was to move into Hospice Comfort House in Pella, which he did at 2:15 last Saturday. At 11:30 that evening, he passed away.
Yesterday was his memorial ceremony, which was preceded by a family graveside committal with full military honors. Dad was an Army Ranger in the Pacific Theater in WW2, a member of the greatest generation, a man who risked his life to protect the country he loved. Following the war, he came back home to raise a family, build a business, and forget about all that.
The funeral was a time to remember a life well lived, and to reminisce about all the pleasant [even humorous] memories we have of Dad (there were many, with more to come).
I include a quote from one of his e-mails, a way to give Dad the last word. It really brings home how he chose to live his life - Faith, Family, Friends, and Fun.
I often think I do not put enough seriousness in events in my life and I think this goes back to my term of duty in the south Pacific. I there resolved that after crawling around in the mud dodging bullets there was nothing that would hazard me when I got back to civilian life again. I felt I had stood the ultimate that would be required of me and any thing following that would be secondary.
Melvin E. Deur, June 1, 1921 - April 21, 2007