While I have some fun, funny stories about Henry, today I remember the man who welcomed me into his family with love and compassion and an open heart. Who looked at me as a daughter. When he was in the hospital last fall, and Edmund and I drove from Maine because he wanted us there, he was so moved we came, he cried. He was grateful and humble. A good man.
I prefer to remember Henry as he was at our wedding. This was before the cancer, when he was planning a trip to walk the Appalachian (or at least planning on planning the trip), while his sister and mother (Ed’s aunt and grandmother) were still alive. He and Chris were anticipating their retirement together.
When he first had brain cancer, in 2008, he was very fit; he was planning on taking people hiking the same week he was admitted in the hospital. After his first surgery, he bounced back, not quite his old self, but close enough. He was able to drive again; he and Chris traveled all over the country; they visited us a few times; we started a tradition of attending Boskone (a SciFi convention) together; he read a copious amount of books. Then, last August, the cancer came back. This time we were not so lucky. He had a stroke, and then another, and never really walked again.
Like me with my Dad, there was no unfinished business between Edmund and his Dad. Ed and I are blessed with great parents, which, when they do pass, makes it much easier, I expect (and harder maybe). Our only resentment would be we’d want them to stick around longer. In Henry’s case, his quality of life was not great, so it is a relief he is not suffering any longer.
Ed’s Mom imagines a heaven for Henry that has jazz music, body surfing and glorious hiking. All the things he loves.