Okay its not THE Pond - as some call the ocean. And it is not just A Pond - as in smaller than a lake. It is a lake! I enjoy living on it and spending time on my back porch listening to music, gazing at the lake and pondering.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quiet Courage

Ellis Clanton 02/10/1920 - 01/29/2009
It was a quick good-bye this morning. But in his final moments my Dad was courageous. For you to understand I need to go back just a bit for a few highlights of these last few year.

For several years Dad had struggled with dementia. Even before he and Mom moved to the Broadmoor his memory was beginning to flicker which I think helped the folks to make the decision to sell their house and move. And for the last 4 years as they have lived in their friendly retirement community where things were much easier in an environment where there was routine. Meals served at same times, meetings with his ROMEO group (Retired Old Men Eating Out), coffees, exercise times.

As his dementia deepened a bit he seemed to know it. He was less talkative but always willing to listen and just be there. He knew us. He called us by name. But he couldn't remember short term very long. Mom did a great job being patient and loving in keeping him active and happy. One side benefit of the dementia she mentioned today is that she could get upset with him and he'd forget it real quickly.

Other ways Dad revealed his courage to me:
(1) When he had his quadruple bypass in the early 1980's he developed a post surgery infection in his leg that was UGLY and painful as he had to go back into the hospital and get it healed on top of the pain from the heart surgery.
(2) When he was forced into early retirement from TEXACO he finished his working career doing school bus driving and working several years for F&M Bank. Here was a man reinventing himself in his late 50s and early sixties.
(3) With his heart problems in the most recent couple of years as he was in and out of the hospital. Even with his dementia when he would be confused where he was all you would have to do is explain the issue and where he was and he would be satisfied - for about 5 minutes. Then you would have to tell him again. And again. And again. Do you know how many 5 minute periods there are in a 24 hr day? And we could talk about that in a family gathering and we (including him) would laugh about it together.

Dad's watch was a key he found to keeping himself "oriented" in his day. The watch would change to show the numeric day of the month. A good friend of his, Bill Roberts, had put him on a mailing list to get little calendars that would clamp to his wristband. So, Dad would see the number of the day, look up the number, have the day of the week, knew the time and seemed to be back on track.

This morning as he struggled for breath he refused an oxygen mask until the very end - choosing only to receive oxygen through the nose. And shortly after he was settled into a private room he looked at the clock on the wall, looked down at his wrist and looked up at us. I told Sandra to write the date on the whiteboard on the wall, which she did. At 11:30 he told Mom, Sandra and me it was time to eat. At 11:41 he was gone.

I think he was expected at a banquet table in Heaven.

8 comments:

Darrel said...

A touching tribute Robb. The last thing my mom said to my dad before she left this world was "take me home" Wonder who she was really talking to.

KsCowboy said...

I never seen him without a smile. He was a great example of a Christian man. There is no doubt he is smiling still.

Anonymous said...

Love you Uncle Rob. Your family is in our prayers. If there's anything else Kristie and I can do to help please let us know.

Shaun

Anonymous said...

Robb,

My heart and prayers go out to you. It sadden me to have heard what happened, I pray that God will get you & your through this.

Vonda

Anonymous said...

Robb, you and your family are in my prayers. You have my sincere condolences. Remember he will always be with you and watching from above.

Linda D

Ron Clanton said...

Robb,

My mom just called and told me about Uncle Ellis. It's been awhile since I'd seen him, but I will miss him. He and my Dad (his younger brother) were very much alike in many ways. We were both lucky to have them around. My heart is with you.

Ron Clanton

preacherman said...

You are in our prayers.

Jim said...

Much love here. That is quite obvious.
(I hope to meet him someday.)