Friday, June 2, 2017

How does one say goodbye?

Obviously the event is a game changer.
First agenda:  Postpone the move!  A call to Watercrest and Comfort Moves takes care of that.
2. Thank God son Chris is staying the week and we make plans for the memorial service at Bay Area Unitarian/Universalist Church and set up a meeting with Bruce Beisner, our minister.  Both of us had set up for our bodies to be donated to UTMB which turned out to be a wonderful service.  They picked up his body at the hospital, will cremate it when done and Chris asked that the ashes be returned to him.  So no casket, etc to deal with which makes planning so much easier.  The service is planned for Saturday March 4 at 2:00 pm.  I asked Tom Diegelman to speak about Ken's career at NASA and he agreed and did a wonderful job.  Chris worked hard on creating a eulogy and did an excellent picture of his dad.  I sent by email word of He-Who's passing to the NASA Alumnae League and put memorial info on Facebook.
I thought I was doing pretty well but Wednesday night about midnight I woke Chris up because my heart was racing again.  Damn!  He called 911 and the EMTs came.  They asked if I wanted to go to the hospital and with one look at Chris, I agreed.  He followed in his car and off we went to St. Luke's ER.  After an EKG and a test on my lungs, the doc gave me a Valium which made me pretty loopy but slowed my heart down.  Sinus tachycardia again!  Finally I was sent home with a prescription for Xanax.  Geez...let's just add a little more drama to the week.
The whole week was a blur but at last it was Saturday.  We borrowed a wheel chair for me to use as between the heart stuff and the recent hip surgery I wasn't steady on my feet.  Embarassing but I did it.  The service was just beautiful and the church packed.  So many people came to tell me how much they cared for Ken, the kind things that he had done for them.  He was a humble kind soul and accomplished so much.  Tom talked about the fact that Ken's program design was what brought the Apollo 13 crew back home safely saving the lives of the crew. Astronaut Fred Haise was at the service.  My unsung hero!  And Chris brought forth the tender caring Dad who loved his kids more than anything.  Bruce included a couple of my poems in the service, one about Alzheimers and one on grief.
It all went way too fast.
The church provided a reception and I was in such a fog by then, I barely remember much about it other than an all too brief greeting with my cousins who came from Dallas and Georgetown.  I was astonished they made the trip and wished we had more time together.
And then it was all over and the family took me home.  Chris had to be exhausted.  He had done so much the previous week contacting the insurance company, the Office of Personnel Management, Fidelity, etc.  The decision was made to go ahead with the big birthday party the following weekend and I packed and went home with Chris to San Antonio where I slept for the first three days and rested.