My brother Alan was taken into the hospice center Saturday the 13th after his health took a very sudden, and severe turn for the worse. By Sunday afternoon, it was clear that his time had run out. I was able to say goodbye to him as his son Scott held his phone to his ear. He passed peacefully just before 6:00 pm.
Picture of Alan 02/03/19 taken just after he had been "sprung" from rehab.
His grandson posted the following on Facebook this morning. It says a lot about who he was, but it's also a keen reminder that we should always take time to evaluate our own lives. As the Dakota Native American saying so aptly advises: "We will be known forever by the tracks we leave."
To his post, Austin had attached this marvelous picture of Alan in his "younger" years.
Austin's tribute picture.
That Sunday, after Scott had notified me that it was just hours left in his dad's life, I sent the following email to him to read to his dad:
I took this picture of the meal cooking on the stove; Sue and I both had tears in our eyes, and couldn't do selfies with it.
Our Dinner Party For Three celebration of Alan's life meal cooking on the stove.
Just as I was finishing up cooking, I got the text message from Scott that his dad had passed: "Dad passed away amazingly peacefully at 5:55 pm. His last breath was calm and quiet. His face was relaxed." And, though a difficult and tearful time, Sue and I still had our Dinner Party For Three in celebration of his life.
You are loved, Bro, and you will be missed....
Interestingly, while we were cooking dinner, Sue caught a glimpse of a cardinal flying around outside of the window where she was sitting. She wrote the following "When Souls Visit" about that experience, as well as experiences she has had with butterflies. Who knows?
I talked with Scott the next day, and he told me two, just marvelous, stories about his dad's passing. First, he said that his mom, Abbie, knowing that the end was close, bent over and whispered in Alan's ear, "It's okay, darling; it's okay to go now." Turning his head toward her, my brother said, in typical fashion for him: "Where are we going?"
The other story is truly amazing, and quite soothing. Just before he died, Scott said that my brother, lying on his back on the hospital bed, and not having moved in hours, suddenly began to slowly lift his arms straight up in the air above him. He then drew them gently down across his chest as though he was hugging someone. Scott said the most radiant smile spread across his face, and that his breath was soft, and not raspy or stressed as it had been. He passed shortly after that with his dear friend Cal Porter holding his hand.