Friday, 18 January 2013
By Johna Ferguson
It was not exactly a good Christmas this year. While my three sons were out of town, my ex had a serious auto accident on December 23rd on a freeway exit suffering as we later found out a massive stroke.
When the social worker from the hospital called my daughter-in-law, she wanted to speak with one of the sons. She would give no information over the phone other than that there had been an accident but since my daughter-in-law wasn’t a blood relative she could not reveal anything.
She then called the other daughter-in-law, Debi, and since she and Quinn, my son, have power of attorney, she was able to take that to the hospital and find Neal in a semi-conscious state with tubes everywhere.
She called me but not being a blood relative, I was also useless about what should be done next. Neal had never remarried as I had so I was still a part of that family.
Debi was able to reach our three sons, Quinn in Alaska, the oldest in Houston and the third in the air, a pilot for Nippon Cargo. She got family emergency flights for the first two, and the third would be home Christmas morning at the hospital where we all finally met.
Quinn had his father’s signed medical directive saying he wished no intervention so since the family was all in agreement, the hospital gave approval to pull everything as they felt there was no hope. That was Christmas morning.
The family decided that since he might last three to five days, one of us must be at his side. My husband was gone for two weeks so my oldest son from Texas and I volunteered to take the first six hours Christmas day and the other two sons could go home as they lived nearby and get some much needed sleep.
We rotated on six hour shifts - sons, daughter-in-laws and me - but it went on and on - in fact, for nine days after the tubes were pulled, a very stressful time for us all, especially over the holidays.
We took one break to celebrate Christmas not only because the boys felt their dad would not want this to interfere with that celebration, but also for the grandchildren.
A very close friend of Neal’s volunteered to sit on that day for six hours. I felt thankful I wasn’t the one to be with him when he died; our youngest son, the pilot was there.
Now it is over but there are lots of things to tie up. Quinn lives in town so he and Debi will do most of that work. Actually, Quinn lives six blocks from Zhou and me and we live six blocks from Neal’s former condo and Quinn’s house is six blocks from that condo, so we are like a family triangle.
Neal and I were on speaking terms, that’s all. But Zhou, my husband, and Neal often met for a drink or to watch a game on TV at his condo.
Since Neal wanted no service, the family will honor his life at a party in a few weeks, inviting all his friends. Everyone needs a closure and what better way than to toast him with a smile and a drink.
As his ex, who he divorced after 32 years of marriage to find someone he thought he could love more, I never thought I would be so involved in his life again, but then life is always taking strange turns. As one says, you never know what’s around the corner.
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