In Honor of My Husband, Ron

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ron's Memorial Slideshow.

This is a copy of the slideshow that we played at Ron's visitation. Our daughter Amanda helped scan the photos onto the computer, and our other daughter Emily made them into a slideshow.


video

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We have lost our warrior

This is the blog entry that I never wanted to make. Ron passed away Saturday morning at 3 a.m. at home in bed. None of us had any idea that he would die this quickly. I really thought we had a few months left at least. For the past couple of weeks he has had some pretty bad days but he also had some great days. On Thursday he had his Erbitux as usual, handled it well and came home feeling pretty good. On Friday, he helped get the haying done on the farm. He worked most of the day outside. I was a little concerned about him, and at one point I asked him if he was over-doing it, but he said "It doesn't matter. I'm doing what I want to do" so I said okay, go for it. I cannot tell you how much he enjoyed this day. He truly felt needed again and it meant so much to him to be able to help the guys. Later that evening my best friend came over and we all went and sat outside on the patio. Ron even hung his tube feeding on a metal pole and ate "al fresco". It was really a great night.
For the past few weeks, I had been staying awake most of the night because Ron would become pretty confused at night. This was related to his oxygen levels dipping to dangerously low levels when he fell asleep. We did have oxygen delivered to us for use when he slept, but he still had some pretty low levels. I have a pulse ox machine that I would check him with so I could keep track. He went to bed as usual at around midnight and at 1:30 a.m. I heard him saying something in the bedroom. I went in and he had the big room light on, and he was sitting on the edge of the bed crying, saying where am I and what's going on? I told him he was okay and he was at home and in his bed. His O2 level was about 97 at that point which is excellent so I told him he was doing good and he laid back down. I told him I would turn the light off and he said NO, like he was afraid to have the room dark. So I turned on the light on his nightstand. I said okay, I'll be in the kitchen again, and he said "No, don't leave me, I don't want to be alone." So I climbed into bed with him and held his hand and he drifted off again right away.
At about 2:30 in the morning I noticed that his breathing had changed to what is called Cheyne-Stokes. Once I heard that I think for a little bit I was actually in shock because I just did not see it coming at all. I left him for a minute to try to call the kids to come home in time to say goodbye, but by 3 a.m. he was gone. It was so fast and unexpected at this time. None of the kids had time to get home, not even Jason, who is about 5 minutes away. I found out much later that day that he had actually hit a deer with his truck on the way over, so he had some dents and dings to show for it. Emily and Jason were on their way down from Whitewater, and poor Amanda and Eric had it the worst. Jason and I both tried both of their cell phones but could not reach them. I found the number for their apartment complex and called there hoping I could send someone to their apartment to tell them to call home. I got a recording. So then Jason called the Madison police, who had to go to their door and wake them up and tell them to call home because there was a family emergency. Oh, I felt just awful that they had to find out that way. The kids all finally got here and said their goodbyes to their wonderful Dad. He loved them all so much, and was so proud of them.
His Mom came over to say goodbye as did his brother and his family. His brother and Ron always acted much like twins, so I know this has hit Bill very hard. One of Ron's sisters, brother-in-law, and niece came to see him too. Also several friends got the word very early and stopped by. Then an ambulance came just to confirm that he was not eligible for CPR. Then we had a county deputy stop to do routine paperwork, then the coroner, and he called the funeral home we had selected. I could not watch as they removed him from the house. That was the part that really got to me at my Mom's death, so I didn't want to see that again.
We then met at the funeral home at 1 p.m. to finalize arrangements. Ron had told me months ago that he wanted to be cremated, and he just told me last week that he did not want an open coffin at his service, as he did not want people to remember him like he was now, but how he used to be. What he preferred was for us to have a DVD playing of pictures of his life along with some of his favorite music. So the kids have been working hard on getting that done.
At the funeral home right before we left, I asked if I could see him again, and so Emily and I went in to say goodbye one more time. I did not want to let him go. I have no idea what I/we are going to do without him. While we were in with him again, my sister and brother-in-law from Missouri came in, so they joined us. She will be my pillar of strength for the next few days. I had asked her a while ago to promise me that she would help me focus on the kid's pain and not on mine right now. I will fall apart later. I hope I can get through this for them. For me, losing my Dad at 39 was horrible, I can't imagine if I had lost him while I was still a young adult. I don't know what else to say, really. The visitation will be held from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9. Funeral at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. They will be held at the Haase-Derrick-Lockwood Funeral Home on the 120 bypass out by Wal-Mart in Lake Geneva. If you can, please come and help us celebrate Ron's life. I hope to hear a lot of laughter on Tuesday. There are some wild stories out there about Ron. Most of them true, I suspect. Please pray for strength for all of us. Ron was truly the best thing that ever happened to me, and I thank God for every day I had with him.