Monday morning was our 19th anniversary. When we awoke that morning, the hubster saw that his brother had called him late the night before, and that's never a good sign. He had passed away that night.
We knew this day was coming; he had been in poor health for the last two years. The last time we saw him was 2-1/2 years ago following a stroke. Our sister-in-law was visiting him last week and she made mention about him having trouble with hiccuping, and I remembered--he had that problem when he had his first stroke when I was pregnant with our oldest child. I meant to mention it to the hubster and didn't say anything about it until he told me the news Monday morning.
|The hubster and his dad, June 2012|
He was born in Kansas to a farmer and his lovely wife, but the farming life was not for him--he had a serious case of wanderlust. He signed on with the merchant marines to travel the world. At one point he managed to get himself stranded in Australia and spent some time beachcombing until he was able to make it to another port. After his service, he landed in southeastern Texas and went to college at the University of Houston where he met Romi, the hubster's mom, and completed the pharmacy program. They settled in Baytown, Texas and he opened his drugstore, Tri-City Pharmacy, on Texas Avenue. Hubster's first job was pushing a broom in the drugstore.
Not one to cool his heels, he incorporated durable medical equipment and oxygen into his offerings, and later sold the drugstore and began Lloyd's Medical Services (hubster's second, fourth, and fifth jobs were there!). After his first stroke, he stepped down from a leadership role and turned over the reins to one of the sons. He built back up his strength on his own, and soon returned to full time pharmacy work.
After hubster's mother died in 1994, my father-in-law met and married Elizabeth, and they led a happy life together for 20 years. They left Baytown several years ago and relocated to the Atlanta area to be near her son's family.
During the service Saturday, the Hubster and our oldest son and I had to sit away from the family because there wasn't enough room for all of us in the section. Halfway through the service someone walked in and sat down in front of us--he carried a backpack and was in a hoodie and blue jeans, and I thought he may have been someone who worked in the nursing home where George was a resident for the last 2-1/2 years. As soon as the pastor gave the benediction, the latecomer moved forward to the lectern and he started talking about how he was passing through and felt moved to enter the church. After he said a prayer, I turned to my husband and said, "Dad would have loved this." George traveled all over the state of Texas in the early 1980s as part of his duties as president of the Texas Association of Medical Equipment Dealers. He would pick up hitchhikers. It made me crazy. He would tell me of the latest person he had picked up and that particular person's life story, and I kept telling George that he was nuts and if he kept it up he could get hurt or worse, murdered. He would just laugh it off and say he felt God was telling him it was okay to pick up the wayward souls on life's highways. I felt God was sharing a good laugh with George at that moment.
One of my brothers-in-law made the comment yesterday that it seems we now only gather for weddings and funerals. I thought about it for a moment and told him he was right; the last time all of the siblings were together was when they buried their baby brother 8 years ago.
The seed has been planted for a family reunion, either this spring or summer. It's hard getting this many people together, but I believe the siblings are finally realizing that they are now orphans and need to spend time together while they can. Keep your fingers crossed that we can pull it off.
I'll have my 2014 wrap-up posted soon. In the meantime, hug your peeps, and go quilt!