Well, Drummer’s been back nearly a week now. I can’t imagine what he has been through, emotionally. He was steeling himself for his father’s condition (Alzheimer’s had been advancing recently) and wondering if his father would even recognize him. And instead his father dies within a few hours of his arrival in Phoenix/Sun City.
We decided that with the cost of air fares, I would be better off making and receiving phone calls, to let family and friends the plans as they developed. I hope I was able to be helpful in that respect. Drummer thanked me for that, while I stayed at home and felt worthless.
He returned and we talked, him remarking that he hadn’t even taken the time to grieve for his dad yet, with his time being spent on planning funeral stuff, going through various file-cabinet drawers, to ensure that nothing was missed (he actually came across 3 life insurance policies that his stepmother had forgotten about). And retrieving his dad’s clothes from the care facilities, going through his dad’s books and photo albums, and other tasks too mundane to even list. Anyway, whew – he was pretty drained.
He returned to this part-time job on Monday, and by Tuesday evening he was feeling pretty punk and asking if I had had any adverse reaction to the food we had recently eaten (I had not). Without going into unnecessary detail, he spent a bad night visiting le potty frequently. So trying to get him on the mend was the task. Fortunately we had chicken noodle soup and saltines at home, and I warned him away from anything dairy (particularly milk). I love the guy, but he turns into such a baby when he’s sick. This, my friends, is why women do the childbearing. I could not stand to hear a litany of physical pains or bodily changes all through a nine-month pregnancy!
Best thing is that he is once again healthy (apparently). Last night we were breezing through his dad’s stuff, in this case a folder with WWII stuff in it. There were about a half-dozen letters in there, that he had sent to his sweetie (his first wife – aka Drummer’s mother, who died nearly 17 years ago). Plus a letter which his father (Drummer’s granddad) had sent to him in 1943, where he had remarked that he was mailing this as Bob approached age 21. And how he had never pictured that this was where his son would be at this age, in uniform, with WWII going on. In fact, Granddad remarked that he thought this war would have occurred much earlier, and had, in fact, discussed this with Grandmom. She had wondered to her husband if he thought their son would ever have to fight a war, and he said he was sure that Bob would be too young, when it would start.
His dad’s military service made him a candidate for the GI Bill (I believe he finished his college education with that) and also for the home mortgage under one of the given benefits for those who served during WWII.
Bob’s own sons never had to serve in the military, and that was during the Vietnam War era. Older brother was in college and had a deferment, and then went on to seminary school. And Drummer was with those lucky guys who, when the draft lottery was instituted, got a high enough number to avoid the call, too.
Bob was inured in the military cemetery near Phoenix, joining his first wife in that locale. A long way to travel, to say “hello” to the ashes of your parents. I think that we will always identify Drummer’s childhood home and that suburb with his dad, the most.