Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life Goes On

The service for Dad was done in two parts last Wednesday. First the family attended a private burial ceremony, and then we had 95 guests at a Celebration of Life at the church. Dianna, Julie, Greg and I each shared some words about Dad, and a few people in attendance also shared some memories of him. We played a slide show of his life as guests came in. He was certainly well loved and lived a full and successful life. He will be greatly missed.

Many family members attended the services and were there in support of Mom. All of Dayna's family attended from Texas, as did Darin and Diane from Tennessee. Greg's family was all there and of course, Julie, Marie and Adam. Carrie, Mike and Randi came down from Denair and nephew Terry flew in from Seattle. My brother Don and his wife Betty also attended. There were many other relatives and also friends from church, Carl's work from which he retired over 30 years ago, and many others whose lives he touched.

The family began leaving on Thursday, and by Friday only Greg's family was still here. We had a birthday dinner for Julie on Saturday evening at a restaurant in El Segundo, and said goodbye to Greg's family. They were headed home to Rochester and Boston on the red eye.

Mom held up very well throughout the week, but when we returned home from the restaurant Saturday night she had a bad fall while getting ready for bed, injuring her back. There are no broken bones but she is in a lot of pain. Our plans for the next few months are to serve as her primary care givers for several days a week, with a couple nights off each week so we can go home to our trailer in Bakersfield when another relative spells us. She does have a paid caregiver six days a week, but that is only during the day time, and she needs someone here 24 hours a day. We had not expected to be needed as nurses quite so soon, but that's what happened. Hopefully she will feel better in a couple weeks.

The tentative long term plan is for Mother to sell the house and move into an assisted living center. The scheduling and timing of those things is still somewhat up in the air, but we are moving forward with preparations. One of the things we are doing is inventorying the contents of her house in preparation for determining what she will take with her, what will go to which family member, what will be sold, and what will be disposed of in some other way. The inventory and cataloging is a huge undertaking but it must be done. I have completed only the entry way and the formal living room and have almost 150 items photographed and identified so far. Those are the two easiest rooms. This is going to take a while.

Life goes on.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Carl C. Widener Jr. Oct. 25, 1916 - October 5, 2010

Services will be held at 3:00 PM, Wednesday, October 13, at the San Fernando First Church of Christ, 606 Chatsworth Dr., San Fernando, CA.

Goodbye. We miss you.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Sad Development and a Major Change of Plans

We have been slowly moving south toward Tennessee since leaving Cuba. We arrived in the little town of Heiskell, TN about 20 miles north of Knoxville, TN on Saturday, and made plans to do some genealogy research in the area.

A week or so ago Dianna learned that her Dad had come down with a cold and was feeling puny. That's not surprising for a man who will be 94 this month. His condition worsened suddenly during the night Friday and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance. He said he did not have the strength to get out of his chair to go to bed or to go to the bathroom. They checked him out and sent him home, saying that he just had a cold. However, his condition did not improve. In fact it continued to deteriorate.

Saturday he did get out of bed for a few minutes in the morning, but that was it. He would not eat, drink or take his medications. Julie and Betty were not able to handle his needs so Greg flew out from Rochester on Sunday to help. Carl's condition continued to go downhill Sunday and we decided Dianna should also go to California.

We made a reservation for today (Monday) for her to fly out of Nashville, the nearest large airport. After doing some shopping and packing her bags, we drove to the 100 miles to Cleveland so we could see Darin and Diane, along with Christine, Nathan and our new great grandson Skylar. Of course, he is precious, and photos will follow.

We slept in the truck in Darin's driveway, although neither of us got more than an hour of so of sleep, and Dianna continued to receive phone calls from her brother and sister during the night. The sense that the end might be near was on everyone's mind, and Carl has told everyone that he had lived long enough, was ready, and did not want to go to the hospital again. Around 7 PM last night he roused enough to agree to go to the hospital again if it would make him feel better. Greg followed the ambulance and stayed with him until shortly after midnight CA time, spending some time talking to their Dr. about hospice. About 12:30 the Dr. called Julie to tell her that he has severe pneumonia in one lung, and it was progressing in the other. He told her that while it is possible he will survive this, it is not likely. He said he will likely hang on for only a few more days at most.

This morning we drove from Darin's to the airport in Nashville, a distance of about 190 miles, and Dianna flew out for CA. She is still in the air as I write this. I drove another 200 miles back to where we left our trailer near Knoxville. Tomorrow I will start for California with our rig. We expect to be needed there for a few months while we deal with all the issues that will surely require attention. Greg and Julie both work full time, and we are in the best situation to be able to do what needs to be done.

Arrangements are being made for hospice to assist with Carl's care during his final days, and it is expected that he will be brought home tonight or tomorrow. He only rouses occasionally and does not seem to be aware of what is happening. Hopefully he will recognize Dianna one last time when she arrives. I know that would mean a lot to her, but she also knows it is not likely.

Communications may be sparse for the next few days. Dianna does have her computer with her so I'm sure she will read emails when she has a chance. I will try to make the 2,200 mile drive in 4 or 5 days, so you won't hear much from me.

I know the family appreciates everyone's thoughts and prayers.