View Full Version : Rough Week: My father passed away yesterday.

05-08-2005, 20:17:25
He had been in ICU for about a week and had a host of problems that were insurmountable. Luckily, we live in a very evolved state here in Oregon, and the doctors let him decide if he wanted a ventilator, Do Not Resescitate order, etc.
He has been battling poor health for years now and didn't want to be reduced to a body kept alive by a machine.

His friends and family were there, he was sleeping peacefully and they cranked up the morphine drip and removed his oxygen mask. The next 20 minutes were extremely difficult to watch, but I got to hold my Dad's hand and be with him at the end.

He and I got to spend some good time alone together at the end, he told me how proud he was to be my father and that made me feel very good. He knew he was loved and surrounded by those that he loved in turn at the end, so I consider him a very lucky man...few of us will have the same fortune.

I plan on posting some pictures and stories about him--either here or on a separate website (anyone know a GOOD host with simple interface/building attributes?) so you all can get to know what a neat guy he was.

We had our differences, but my father was one of the few "man's men" (tough guys) left out there and the ONLY person I have ever met who truly had the courage of his convictions. He never self-edited, and though that made for a few awful exchanges with others, you always knew exactly where he stood! :)

Bottom line--tell some people you love them today...as time is truly short. Those of you here that I love know it already! You're a very loveable bunch, you know. Well...some of you.

If you have any great "death" quotes, please share them...I'll be working on his eulogy today and into the night...the service is in the morning.

Bye, Dad.

Scabrous Birdseed
05-08-2005, 20:23:18

Lurker the Second
05-08-2005, 21:08:27
My sincerest condolences. Sounds like you were both lucky to have each other.

05-08-2005, 21:18:32
sorry to hear it mate :(

05-08-2005, 22:49:31
Damn, my condoleances, BGH. I remember you posting here about having a big argument with him, discussing about writing him a letter. He must have meant a lot to you. All the best.

05-08-2005, 23:03:50
You and your family have my deepest sympathy.

"Death ends a life, not a relationship."
- Jack Lemmon

05-08-2005, 23:56:21
Sorry to hear mate, may you and your family find the strength you need over the coming period.

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
06-08-2005, 00:09:06

Sir Penguin
06-08-2005, 00:12:32
That's tough. :(


06-08-2005, 01:08:47
Originally posted by BigGameHunter
Luckily, we live in a very evolved state here in Oregon, and the doctors let him decide if he wanted a ventilator, Do Not Resescitate order, etc.

I do think that is a very important point. People who are dying know they aren't in control of much so being able to choose with dignity what they do or don't want done for them can be very empowering and help put them at ease. I know such was true when my mother was dying.

06-08-2005, 01:09:24
I am sorry


06-08-2005, 02:01:26

06-08-2005, 02:30:43

06-08-2005, 02:55:57
Very sorry Pat.
Much love to you and the rest of your family.

Greg W
06-08-2005, 02:58:39
Sorry to hear that, mate. My thoughts are with you are your family.

Alexander's Horse
06-08-2005, 05:39:19
Sorry for your loss. Death of father is a bridge I haven't crossed yet.

Re the quotes, I read that Spike Milligan has "I told you I was ill" chiselled on his headstone.

06-08-2005, 06:04:42
Sorry to hear it Pat, its good you had a chance to talk to him before he was gone.

06-08-2005, 06:13:37
sorry to hear

06-08-2005, 09:42:44


06-08-2005, 09:53:07
my condolences, must say you are very right about the --tell some people you love them today...as time is truly short thing.

The Norks
06-08-2005, 10:16:58
oh honey :( . I'm so sorry to hear this. It sounds like your father was a principled man, and a good man, and I'm sure he will never be replaced in your affections. I hope you all look after each other, and especially your Mum, and that you can celebrate his life and keep him alive in memory for your children and yourselves. Somebody gave me this poem when my father died, and I have always drawn a lot of comfort from it, so I hope it gives you the same:

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away in to the next room.
I am I, and you are you
Whatever we were to each other ,that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you used to.
Put no difference in your tone, wear no false air of solemnity or
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together
Let my name be ever the household name it ever was, let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was: there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just
around the corner.
All is well.

I'll pm you

Sue x (((((((((((Pat))))))))))))))

06-08-2005, 11:04:30
well, i don't have any "death" quotes but i can empathize with you, BGH. Immensely. I held my father figure's hand (my papa..grandfather) when he died when i was 13. He too was a "man's man" of deep conviction..great sense of humor. I look forward to you sharing stories about your dad.... it is good he suffers no more. Take care of yourself.

06-08-2005, 11:08:20
Sorry to hear that Pat. :(

06-08-2005, 11:39:03
My condolences BGH :( At least he got to see also his grandchildren and spend time with them that must have made him very happy.

06-08-2005, 14:38:04
Sorry Pat,

At least it sounds like the two of you parted on good terms though.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

The Mad Monk
06-08-2005, 14:47:26
Best wishes for you and your family. :(

I don't know any "death quotes", all I could recomend is to remember some funny stories about your Dad, and tell them -- it really does help the pain.

self biased
06-08-2005, 17:27:04
my condolances.

06-08-2005, 19:20:57
Sorrry to hear that, BGH. Hope you're OK.

06-08-2005, 23:19:19
I'm also very sorry to hear it and remember vividly how strange, upsetting and life-changing losing a parent is.

Keep strong. :)

Nills Lagerbaak
07-08-2005, 13:12:45
So sorry BGH, it was a year this weekend that my dear old man passed away. My sincerest sympathies.

Mr. Bas
07-08-2005, 14:22:07
Sorry to hear it... My condolences.

07-08-2005, 15:11:12
Really sorry to hear that BGH :(

07-08-2005, 16:42:19
Sorry to hear that mate.

07-08-2005, 18:04:41
Sorry to hear that.

07-08-2005, 20:46:29
Originally posted by BigGameHunter
Luckily, we live in a very evolved state here in Oregon, and the doctors let him decide if he wanted a ventilator, Do Not Resescitate order, etc.

Originally posted by Oerdin
I do think that is a very important point. People who are dying know they aren't in control of much so being able to choose with dignity what they do or don't want done for them can be very empowering and help put them at ease. I know such was true when my mother was dying.

Hear hear!

At least he was able to die with dignity, and you and he had a good relationship at the end...

I never really knew my father - don't even know if he's still alive or not, which represents a curious kind of void in my life when issues like this come about...

But all the best pal!

My favourite part of funerals are when we have the wake to celebrate our departed friend's life...:beer:

08-08-2005, 10:12:45
Really sorry, be strong

08-08-2005, 17:28:52
Thank you all for your kind thoughts and words.

We had a vigil for my Dad (open casket/very Catholic) on Friday night and a full Catholic Mass on Saturday. He wanted to be cremated and have his ashes scattered in Montana near our family cabin. It is a beautiful spot.
After the service (which was very well done on such short notice) we went to a place called Otto and Anita's, which is a very German/European hole in the wall restaurant. We stuffed ourselves with schnitzels, brats, and a whole bunch of other German food I can't really remember. The beers were flowing and everyone had a good time recalling my father.

I will post a picture of him sometime when I have access to my house (still staying with Mom to keep her from being alone). I dug through hundreds of boxes and photo albums this week--they put together a simple DVD montage (15 pictures) as part of the "package" at the mortuary and I found pictures spanning his life--from his infancy to a final, goofy grin that captured his somewhat rare lighter side.

This is the eulogy I ended up writing the morning of the service...I almost didn't make it through a couple of times, but I sucked it up and took some deep breaths...a very hard speech to give, I assure you.
Much thanks to Sue for the wonderful poem she provided...it was perfect and I used it after all.

I want to thank you for all the support you have given me over the years, support that covers so many areas, I cannot even hope to name them, but will attempt a few: emotional, financial, educational, spiritual, romantic, professional...so many! Many times when I’ve been down and ready to give up on myself, you have been there to firmly remind me that I am a good man, and that a good man strives on, even when things seem pointless or hopeless.

I think perhaps you were born an age too late--the world does not seem to appreciate the strength and intense purpose you represent, and for that I am sorry. I see you more as a pioneer, a soldier, a leader of men in trying times--anything that would require physical, mental and spiritual conviction and fortitude. But you took on your less glamorous responsibilities with resolve and class, and for that I thank and greatly respect you.

In a time where Honor, Loyalty, Chivalry and Dedication have become little more than antiquated terms, he always seemed to not only understand these concepts, but to strive to live by them.
I am confident he would have been more comfortable swinging a battle axe with his Teutonic ancestors than shoe-horned into an era of suits and ties, business lunches and false platitudes. He was the picture of a warrior in an time where few clear battles were left to fight.

Though we are not given the option of WHEN we live, we always have the choice of HOW we live. In an era when few people seem capable of setting a standard for themselves beyond the minimum expectation, he never compromised his personal values.
I have seen him admonish perfect strangers for selfishness and poor manners, I have heard him voice the strongest of opinions without regard for his audience, witnessed countless examples of his iron will & unflinching standards.

He is a man of meticulous care and measured approach—a linear man with an uncommon depth of character and a fierce, instinctive knowledge of what is right and what is wrong, who never left room in the margins for vacillation or hesitation. Like me, his acquaintances are few—he reserved his time and his friendship for the highest caliber of people. He is not a man given to flowery speech or dramatics, but most assuredly you always know that you are loved by him, and emphatically supported in every endeavor.

My father is the rarest of breeds: a true man’s man.
If you think of Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen or Robert Mitchum, you are in the right ballpark. Better yet, think of John Wayne and you are getting closer to the mark.
It is safe to say, that here is a man who has, without failure, possessed the absolute courage of his convictions.
Who among us can say we have never edited our stance for our audience or compromised our beliefs because we fear an unpopular response? I personally cannot.
I can not think of anyone, aside from my father, who displayed this rarest of qualities.

He is a powerful disciplinarian—one who teaches principles, practices, and rules and then enforces those rules.
This led to some classic scenes of the young buck and the old bull, locking horns in what invariably proved to be ill advised confrontations on my part; yet from these natural conflicts sprang the greatest of gifts: I have become a man who fears no other man and very little else in life. Because of my father I have been blessed with the ability to speak in public, perform on the stage and voice unpopular opinions. The pure pleasure that these normally terrifying acts have given me is due directly to his influence and example.

I think it quite fitting that the name “Bernhard” means “courage of a bear”. You epitomized your family name, never backing down and never giving up. Where a lesser person would have found it easy and even acceptable to set down his burden and give up trying, you have always forged ahead with resolve. In your life and in your passing, you were the man of the long stride, the man of the set jaw, the man who truly looked death in the eye and did not blink. At all times your concern was not for yourself, but for your family—though my father may have railed away at the idiocy of others with unusual passion, upon reflection, I cannot recall a time he pitied himself or sought pity from others. He was, in his way, one of those people who never seemed to need comforting, but always gave comfort.

In his final moments, he insured, purely through his strength of will, that each of us was given the opportunity to speak with him in private and in simple, loving terms. He took time to speak with us pointedly and without elaboration of his deep affection and monumental concern for his family. He truly gave me the greatest gift a father can give his son: he spoke to me of his pride and his thanks for having me as a son, the words that all sons, from all times, have longed to hear from their fathers.

In closing, I would like to share a poem that seems to be the kind of message he would want shared with all of us today.
It is by

Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918),
Canon of St.Paul´s Cathedral

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room,
I am I and you are you,
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used,
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow,
Laugh as we always laughed,
At the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect,
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant,
It is the same that it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind,
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval,
Somewhere very near,
Just around the corner, all is well.

I love you Dad.

08-08-2005, 17:31:32
Sorry to hear it. :(

08-08-2005, 18:21:47
I never equated BGH to SuperSneak... that was veeeeeeeery sneaky...

"Death is the only adventure we have left" -Hook

No longer Trippin
08-08-2005, 18:27:18
My condolences

The Norks
08-08-2005, 18:53:46
that was a beautiful eulogy BGH- the best words seem to come at the last minute. I'm glad the poem I sent you was appropriate, and that you made it through the reading.

be kind to yourself for a while ok?


Provost Harrison
08-08-2005, 19:04:24
My condolences BGH...

Lazarus and the Gimp
08-08-2005, 20:01:09
Very sorry to read this- I'm dreading the prospect of my parents dying.

Provost Harrison
08-08-2005, 20:22:47
Yeah, my parents are the same age as Robin Cook...gets you thinking doesn't it :(

08-08-2005, 20:28:19
gets you thinking doesn't i
What? Was Robin Cook my dad?!

08-08-2005, 20:45:45
Who's your daddy?

Alexander's Horse
08-08-2005, 22:36:35
Is sneak checking out too? I think he just eulogised himself and farwelled everyone. Settle son.

The Australian way of death is more fun, since we can't deal with complex emotions.

My Auntie died just before 9/11. I was stunned to find she was being buried next to her ex husband, from whom she had been divorced for many years. The kids had the last say in the end.

My Uncle Jim died recently (93). Someone found out there was a family plot bought in about 1944 when his father died. Jimmy was buried with his Mum and Dad in the same plot. His Mum went in there in the 70's.

Jim never got on with his brother Ed (90 something) so we were talking about putting Ed in on top of Jimmy :gasmaske:

09-08-2005, 03:36:49
My condolences Pat. Sorry that I had not noticed this a bit sooner. And kudos to Norks for a beautiful poem. I actually saved that one onto the hard drive as I think I would like to give that to my daughters for them to remember me that way when I bite the bullet.

Hope you are holding up well ... and again... I am so sorry for your loss. :(

Greg W
09-08-2005, 12:15:48
Beautiful eulogy BGH, that was very touching. You dad sounds like a man amongst men.

A toast to those no longer with us: