Skies of blue, clouds of white…. and I think to myself….

My dad passed away on June 21st at 1:28 pm. I haven’t posted anything about it yet because I had to take some time to clear my head.
Part of my sporadic posting has been due in large part to his health issues, as he has been steadily spiraling downward in his battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for the last few months. So as I’ve been bouncing back and forth halfway across the country for a while now, well, blogging just hasn’t been of much interest to me. I’ll try to rectify that in the near future.
I drove home the weekend before to see him and scarcely got back to my apartment before I had to turn around and drive back a few days later. That first weekend he’d just had 10 liters of fluid drained from his abdomen and had finally gone on hospice care. So we moved him back home, knowing full well he’d never leave the house he’d spent the last 35 years in again. The doctor had guessed he might have another 3 weeks left in him which turned out to be a bit longer than the truth, unfortunately. We didn’t have the heart to tell him, though, because he was in good spirits about going home and having less pain from the massive fluid reduction, and was talking about “hoping to drag things out to February so mom can have my full pension upon retirement”. That’s just the kind of person he was, not so concered with his own well-being.
He was stubborn as usual, insisting on minimal help getting up the stairs and down the hall. Even though he could barely walk he refused to use the damn portable commode we had in the room with him, and refused to sleep in the hospice bed, preferring his favorite recliner. It was hard enough on him to let me help him get dressed after a shower. But the whole time he kept to his jovial nature, as always. Insufferable dry humor to the end.
So yeah, I drove home when things took a turn for the worst and he started getting opiates for the pain. I was already scheduled to catch a flight out Friday and get in just after midnight on Saturday. However, the hospice nurse said he had about 48 hours at the most, so I hopped in the car and left DC at 10:30 Thursday night for Illinois with cat in tow. I didn’t want to try to make a new flight after what happened with United’s computers the week before, air travel this summer has been a damned nightmare.
The last thing Bill said to me, over the phone from a drug-induced stupor, was “It will be so good to see you again”.

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A Requiem for Zeitgeist

It has come to my attention that Kurt Vonnegut has passed away.

His death was reported by Morgan Entrekin, a longtime family friend, who said Vonnegut suffered brain injuries as a result of a fall several weeks ago.

I need not delve into Vonnegut’s literary exploits. Suffice to say he led an amazing, full life and reflected that in his writings, where his compassion for the human race was colored with poignant dark humor. Few authors today can claim to have had such an enormous impact crossing so many generations and cultural themes.
Sleep well, Mr. Vonnegut.
“We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane”.
–Kilgore Trout