View Full Version : It's been a lonely summer...it just got lonlier

Ken Fitzgerald
08-27-2005, 10:57 PM
Two granddaughters graduated from HS in early June and I had family members from Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana descend upon us. My ILs were to be here 8 days after my side of the family left.

My ILs (ages 86 & 82) called to say their 14 room Victorian had become more than they were capable of handling. After returning from vacationing with us from late June to mid-July, they were going to find an apartment and sell their home. I told my wife of 36 years...you better nudge them...best time to sell a house is during the summer before school starts....She spoke with them a few days later and they had found an apartment. They were going to wait to find a realtor and sell their home after they returned from visiting with us mid-July. I told my wife...you better nudge them......She called a couple of days later and they found a realtor.......but...they didn't want to show it until after they returned from vacationing with us......3 days later the realtor convinced them he had a client and the house sold 5 days later with an August 10th closing date and the ILs were returning from visiting us on July 15.

While they were here, I managed to take my FIL fishing on Lake Roosevelt (Columbia River above Grand Coulee dam) and both days we caught our limits of walleye in near record time while fishing with a guide. I've fished with my FIL in Mississippi, Illinois, Idaho, Minnesota, Washington State and Canada.

On July 15th the ILs returned to Illinois to start the move. My wife who works for a local school district flew back on July 18th to help them move. My youngest son from San Antonio drove up for 10 days to help them. One of my two BILs drove from Denver to assist. Though they both come from large farming families, my MIL has no surviving siblings and my FIL has only one brother surviving, a Marine and retired state police captain who is age 92. 5 or 6 nieces and nephews and spouses showed up and they moved the furniture in couple of hours. The entire move with the help of family was as easy as a move can be. My wife spent the remaining days until her departure date of August 16th doing things with her folks that they've regularly do...go to church, play cards, watch movies. On the Sunday prior to August 16 my MIL woke up with breathing difficulties and coughing up blood. She was hospitalized and my wife changed her reservations to comeback on August 30th. MIL got out of the hospital on the following Friday. So for the next week my daughter shared with them their daily routines.

Friday night while attending a HS football game, my FIL slumped over. The paramedics in attendance provided first aid and transported him to the nearest hospital. They performed a CT scan on him; got him stabilized and helicoptered him to the nearest regional medical center. My wife and MIL signed a "no extreme measure" statement because the severe stroke he had endured would leave him completely paralyzed, unable to eat or breathe on his own. He lies comatose and the prognosis is poor and very short.

This humble man of little means. Drove trucks for a while....owned and operated a small shoe store for 37 years and drove a school bus until state law required he retire......the grandfather of my 3 children.....a Silver Star medal earned in combat in the South Pacific during WWII....He was the epitamy of John Hart's signature "ain't nothing wrong with quiet!" He loved being out of doors, fishing, mushroom hunting, baseball ( a rabid Chicago White Sox fan stuck in the enemy territory of Cub fans) family, church.......He isn't big...rather small in stature......honest as the day is long......loved and respected by many....

I fly back tomorrow for 10 days to wait for the inevitable.

I haven't seen my wife of 36 years for nearly 6 weeks.....

It was a lonely summer.....it just got lonlier......

Dick Parr
08-27-2005, 11:20 PM
I am really sorry to here this Ken, you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers .

Martin Shupe
08-27-2005, 11:40 PM

I am sorry for your loss. Sounds like you shared some good times with him. I never knew my father in law, he died of cancer when my wife was in high school. Cherish the memories you have.

We will all keep you and your family in our prayers.

Dennis Peacock
08-28-2005, 12:14 AM

On one hand...I'm very glad to know you spent some very good times with him during their visit. Those and all the good memories over the years will stick with ya for year to come. On the other hand, I am very sorry to hear of the state of health he is now in and that you have been away from your wife for so long. You and your family will be in my prayers.

Karl Laustrup
08-28-2005, 6:13 AM

Prayers are with you and your family during this most trying of times.


Jim O'Dell
08-28-2005, 7:47 AM
Ken, cherish the time you got to spend with him this summer...that can never be replaced. He has a wonderful legacy, and your description of him reminds me of both my Dad, and his Dad in so many ways. We all know that this stage in life comes, but always too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. Jim.

Randy Moore
08-28-2005, 7:53 AM
I lost my Dad 2 years ago. I still want to ask him questions or just call him and say lets go fishing. I miss him deeply and I do cherish the time we had spent together.
Ken, so sorry to hear of this, I hope MIL is doing OK, or as good as can be expected. You and your family is in our prayers.


Keith Starosta
08-28-2005, 8:35 AM
Ken, my deepest sympathies to you and your family during this time.


Jim Becker
08-28-2005, 9:36 AM
Ken, hang in there.

Ron Jones near Indy
08-28-2005, 9:38 AM
I know you are thankful for the good times and good memories you have had with your FIL. Your family is in my prayers.

John Miliunas
08-28-2005, 9:54 AM
Ken, keep the good memories close at hand and know that he will be where he ultimately belongs! My prayers go out to you and yours.

Bart Leetch
08-28-2005, 10:38 AM
I've lumps in my throat & tears in my eyes & prayers on my lips.

Michael Stafford
08-28-2005, 11:25 AM
Your report of this man's life is a testament to the members of the "silent majority" and the Greatest Generation. I am sorry for your loss but what a wonderful tribute and eulogy to someone you obviously loved. I hope you can be consoled with the fact that he is in his Father's care. My most sincere condolences and prayers go with you.

Don Henthorn Smithville, TX
08-28-2005, 8:56 PM
Just keep on keeping on and remembering the things which make life worth while. My prayers are with you and the family.

Vaughn McMillan
08-29-2005, 4:20 AM
Ken, I'm very sorry to learn of your news, and very moved by the way you commemorated your father-in-law. He sounds like quite a guy who created a great legacy.

- Vaughn

Roger Myers
08-29-2005, 9:48 AM
Your description of your father-in-law was very very moving and quite a testament to a man whose legacy will live on in your family for many generations. He is truly one of the greatest generation and sounds like a man who let his actions speak for him. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in these difficult days.

Jeff Sudmeier
08-29-2005, 10:00 AM
Ken, I am sorry to hear of your loss. Sounds like he led a wonderful life. Cherish those memories!

Don Baer
08-29-2005, 2:33 PM
My heart goes out to you and your family. My mom had a stroke last year and we had to sign the DNR with her. She never woke up and stayed with us just long enough so that all of her kids, grand kids and great grand kids could say goodbye. My younger brother and I were with her when she finaly went to be with my father.
It's hard to let them go but we must.

Kurt Aebi
08-29-2005, 3:50 PM

You and your family are in my prayers, may God's Will be done and let the healing begin. I am glad you were ablew to spend some real good quality time with him before his stroke. It will always be a good memory for you.

Take care and travel with God's love, brother!

Ken Fitzgerald
09-08-2005, 11:46 AM

On Sunday, August 28th my FIL passed away. He waited for all that could be there to arrive. He was surrounded by his wife, 2 sons, daughter, 1 grandson and 1 granddaughter and I, his SIL.

He lived in a small farming community near Bloomington Illinois and family and friends came from as far away as Colorado Springs, CO to pay their respects.

As his oldest son and I were helping my MIL contact the appropriate agencies following the funeral imagine our surprise when we discovered on the DD-214 he'd actually been awarded 3 Bronze Stars during the Gaudalcanal Campaign. We rechecked the medals and sure enough,.....at his wife's insistance in his 60's had brought his medals out of a box and made a very humble display of his military medals.....the additional 2 stars for the 2nd and 3rd awards had been incorrectly placed on a campaign medal instead of his Bronze Star medal. He was obviously impressed by his own bravery and importance! :rolleyes:

In the coming weeks I'll be making a display box for the flag that covered his casket. It will truly be an honor.

Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes!

Donnie Raines
09-08-2005, 11:59 AM
Really sorry to hear about that Ken. I wish nothing but the best for you and yours!

Roger Fitzsimonds
09-08-2005, 12:41 PM
My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family.


Richard Wolf
09-08-2005, 7:23 PM
God Speed, Ken.


Tony Falotico
09-08-2005, 8:03 PM
My thoughts and prayers to you and your family during this difficult time.