Many of you who read TGB's companion blog, The Elder Storytelling Place, will certainly know Nancy Leitz, one of the best storytellers we have at that blog. She has been missing from the mix for the past several months after her husband, Roy, became seriously ill last fall.
I am so sorry to report that Roy died quietly at home on Wednesday. As Nancy explained in an email to friends:
”Roy passed away this morning a little after 10:00 A.M. He was not responding to either the Hospice nurse or the aide and both came to tell me that.
“I had just been talking to him a few minutes before so I thought they must be mistaken. I said, 'Oh, he will respond to me.' I went to his bedside and gently put my hand on his shoulder and called his name. He sighed one big sigh and passed away.
“The hospice nurse told me that she thought that he was just waiting for me to be at his side before he went away forever.”
As anyone who has read Nancy's stories through the years knows, Nancy and Roy have spent a lifetime – a wonderful, happy, laugh-filled lifetime - in one another's daily company. Nancy's email continues:
“We were together for 67 years. We met in High School when I was 16 and he was 17. That was in 1946. We married 4 years later in 1950. I will always be grateful to have had such a wonderful husband who was also the best Dad in the World to our children.”
There is no doubt about that. Nancy's stories are almost entirely about her family, extended family and their many domestic adventures through the decades. And what any reader quickly learns in reading them is that there would always be a perfect surprise laugh in the last sentence.
I feel - and I'm sure Nancy's other readers do too - that through those stories, I came to know Roy as well as Nancy.
I don't think I'm giving away anything about Nancy's stories to tell you that I once asked via email if the quoted punchlines – from herself or one of the kids or Roy – was maybe, um – embelleshed a little in hindsight? You know, just for effect?
And in response she allowed as how – in that way she has always has of putting a smile into the written word – that yes, that might be true now and then.
I've never met Nancy in person. We've never even spoken on the telephone. But as happens with blogs and comments and online stuff, she is my friend. And my heart breaks for her this week.
If it is that you happen not to have read Nancy's stories, there are, beginning here, links to the more than 50 she has contributed. Take a look. They will delight and entertain you and help you understand what a special life these two terrific people have shared. And you'll laugh a lot too.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dan Gogerty: Skatin' Along in the Hog Barn