Thursday, August 23, 2007

Death of a Giant; how can we have breakfast?

I lost my own father when I was not yet four. Throughout my marriage, my father in law has been my Dad.

We knew Dad's health wasn't great. Degenerative heart failure... diabetes... old age. Not good.

I last had breakfast with him perhaps four months ago. There was a time when we would often catch up over breakfast. He always wanted to know how the business was doing. He was concerned about our stability and financial well-being. Over the years, I learned to gently deflect some of his questions, yet at the same time strived to assure him that all was well in the financial world of Wiebe.

As time went by, I wondered about our breakfasts. It looked less likely that we'd ever be able to get together in that way again.

A few weeks ago, his health went downhill rapidly. The walk became a shuffle. Other health issues cropped up. The family briefly considered letting doctors take a look at his heart one more time, perhaps a stint. Not to be.

His cardiologist made comments such as: "it's amazing that you're still here" when asked how long Pres had to live. Other medical comments reflected on the fact that he would be a candidate for a heart transplant, if he were quite a few years younger.

Then last week, he went into the hospital. It provided another opportunity for him to physically slow down some more. Now the speech was erratic. Not all of his reality was tightly connected.

I left on a sales trip. How long to live? 2 hours? 2 days? 2 weeks? 2 months? Don't know. I resolved to go about my life as normally as possible.

While I am gone, he is discharged from the hospital, away to home.

Hospice shows up. A hospital style bed in a bedroom. Turning off a pacemaker, seeing a coma develop.

I'm in a restaurant near Washington, DC, with my sales manager and my mid-atlantic salesperson. My wife calls me. She needs support. Dad's health is quickly failing, step by step. I leave for home the next morning.

While I am traveling, my wife and her sisters singing to him, "Silent Night". She said he responded by lifting his hands. They pray, they thank him.

Then I got home... Talking to Dad one more time... "I love you", and more.

How can we have breakfast, one more time? I wait for the next life.

I miss him severely in this one.

Pres Huston was a giant in Wichita, KS. He ran one of the largest advertising / marketing companies in Kansas, which was Associated Advertising Agency (now Associated). My wife, Kathy, worked for dad for about 13 years, eventually rising to the position of VP/Operations. Dad wanted her to run the agency. She didn't want the job, although she would have been magnificent.

Over the years, Pres worked with a genuine "Who's Who" of Wichita and regional companies.

For obituary and so forth, check here.

1 comment:

Chris Ryland said...

Requiescat in pace.