Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kind and Gentle Man

It is hard to believe that Tom is gone. Here one minute, reading , snacking, enjoying Florida, and yes of course wondering "what's for dinner".

His parting was quick, surprising, unprepared for and so sad. Done in by a fall. A dangerous step back and a turn of the foot. A loud cracking sound, a warning of what was coming. He was alert. Shaken a bit, but able to get himself up. An immediate trip to the ER for a check up and a CT scan. Exiting the ER feeling safe. Lucky once more. Beat another one! He commented that he felt like a cat with nine lives. We didn't realize this was number 9. We would only know that 45 minutes later.

The demise of a person can be as quick as a blink. That's what we did, blink and eat pizza. The last meal we would share. The terror of what was happening enveloped me. Me, the nurse, who can seldom keep a cool head when it involves those she loves. Somehow I was able to stop long enough to ask God to once again gather me in His palm. This was beyond me and I knew it. I prayed for peace and a calm mind so I could make the best decisions possible. God once again pulled through and I was able to see the reality of what faced us rather than the magical thinking of what might be if there could only be a miracle.

The Miracle came in that it was a quick and I think painless death. A Chaplin came and prayed and we gathered together to hold Tom in the love we had for him. Within a half hour he was gone. No more suffering. So quick. So unbelievably sudden. So unbelievable.

We have had a wonderful winter together. We had strengthened our friendships with neighbors and Michigan friends who winter here as well. We had a wonderful visit with Evelyn, Tom's precious girl. How he loved her! We sat poolside reading nearly every day. We had our incredibly long breakfast every morning. Enjoying the comfort of each others company mostly in silence. Reading the daily paper. Stretching out coffee, fruit, eggs and toast into a 2 to 3 hours of routine. We both loved our breakfast together.

A.T. Winterfield was a class act. He was a kind, quiet, ethical man. He brought so much joy to my life.
He taught me so much and helped me to grow in so many ways. The past few years have been difficult.
He has faced so many health challenges. Each new problem was examined, read about, and then embraced by him as part of life. The cards that were dealt. But always he found the things he could do to make it a little better. He was willing to try anything that could improve his quality, make him stronger. A quitter he was not.

So my beautiful man, whose smile lit up a room, I send you off. I release you to a better place. I'm sure you are near me unencumbered by a body that tried to hold you in place. I hope you are getting reacquainted with others who have loved you and left before you. But be aware that there are many of us here who are hurting, missing and grieving you. Stay a little close by, just for awhile. Let me feel your hand rest on mine while I drive. Keep me company when I feel alone.
You were never a big talker so maybe I can just look at your familiar chair and make believe you are in the kitchen looking for a "snack", leaving crumbs on the counter.

I love you very much and miss you so much already and you've only been gone a day.

Your wife, Kath


Lara said...

Missing him so much. He was a wonderful husband and friend to you and a wonderful friend and stepfather to all of us kids. He was a much needed father figure and filled that role with grace, patience and lots of love. I'll always be thankful that I knew him and that he was my stepdad, my Tom. Love and miss you so much already, Tom.
I love you so much, Mom! Can't wait to hug you in person. Love, Lara

frenzykat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
frenzykat said...

And you, love, are also a class act. You are also a kind, quiet, ethical person. You bring so much joy into our lives. It is raining hard in Michigan this morning; our hearts are broken for you.
Little Evelyn has a wonderful guardian angel to watch over her; she could not be in better hands.

Much love and strength your way-
Sue Underwood

Melissa Anastas said...

I struggle with the right words to say to you right now Kathleen. Know that you are loved and thought of kindly by so many and use that as a warm cloak to help you through these hard days to come. I am now and have always been, awed by your wisdom, grace and kindness. Please let me know if there in anything I can do...Love, Melissa A.

Kathy Bass Butler said...

Kathy, What a beautiful tribute. May he rest in peace in Gods loving arms. Kathy Bass Butler

Kirsten from said...

Oh, Kathleen! I am so sorry that you are grieving. Tom was such a loving and gentle soul. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Love you, Sister!