Wednesday, February 25, 2009

John Wilker

*Dad, the summer of 2007, with his sister Dorothy.


The following is what my stepbrother wrote about my dad Just after his death. It's a beautiful tribute for the last 20 years of his life. Prior to that Dad was married to my Mom for 42 years. In this day and age, it's different to hear of someone married for 62 years!

We had a gathering at my sister's house on Sunday - which was really nice for the family as the actual memorial service will not be until mid-April. My cousins were there - you know the ones that you would like to get to know better, but your lives keep you apart. I guess that there are a bit of friction between my mother and my uncle - so we didn't visit but once a year (sad, too as they only live 90 miles away).

Peacefulness, The final moments, In memorium ... but finally just the tribute; "John Wilker"


As you may already know he died peacefully at 6:56 (CST) this morning (2/24). In retrospect his struggle was short, yet it seemed like forever. He lived a vigorous life traveling this hemisphere with my mother until 3 weeks ago. I do not know many 87 year old men that could drive that big RV and keep it constantly tinkered with and in shape. I saw a man that loved my mother, as she loved him. Being there to watch their love as he lay in an ICU hospital bed, semiconscious, struggling to breathe, unable to move or communicate was a very emotional experience for me....

However it became readily apparent that the stroke left him with no chance of recovery to the vital person he was. In fact it left him with being kept artificially alive via medications and artificial feeding to give him a chance at a recovery that was not to come. Consequently Mom and I came to respect his expressed desire to not merely be alive with no "quality" of life. His death less than 24 hours after withdrawing all medical support shows how poor that quality would have been.
Mom is at peace with the decision and process. Obviously she needs our support as she adjusts to her life without her loving husband and companion....

I celebrate the 20 years my mother had with your father following the loss of my father and your mother.

We ended up telling Dad and Patsy stories, laughing while sharing part of his life with each other. Now you have to remember that my step-mom is also my ex-husband's mother, which really puts a wrench in the works at times, but I believe that we have gotten over that (well, at least I have) portion of our lives...

Dad - I'll miss you - you are in my heart for eternity. I'm glad that we learned to say "I love you" and hugs from the O'Brien side of our clan.

Patsy, thank you for taking such good care of my father during his second childhood. You had a strong influence on Dad and I love you for watching him and taking care of him.

12 comments:

Vicky said...

A beautiful tribute to a wonderful man who scared the crap out of me when I was a kid, since I really didn't know what having a father was all about. He was always very kind to me as I got older, even though I was just a bigger pain in the ass. He was blessed to have the opportunity to live life to the fullest, and wise to take the opportunity. I sure wish I could have had a father like that...and I wish my children could have as well.

Denise said...

It sounds like you will always have wonderful memories and peace with your Dad.
Denise

Marty S said...

Please accept my sympathy on the loss of your dad. He sounds like a wonderful person.

How nice that you plan to make something from his neckties. My sister-in-law made pieced wall hangings from her dad's ties, one each for her sister, her two brothers, and herself. They're beautiful pieces of art that bring back loving memories.
Marty S
Crackpot Beader

Brenda said...

I am so sorrow for your loss. What a great father, husband, brother, man he was.
Making spirit dolls will be a great tribute to him. And it will help you through your grieving process.
You will be in my thoughts.

Robin said...

Dear Liz, I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad you wrote about your Dad and posted a note on the BJP blog. Will you also do a BJP piece using one of his ties? Making dolls with my Dad's ties was incredibly spiritual for me... somehow it enabled me (slowly) to break through a wall of separation/grief and to feel connected with him again. I hope that happens for you too. Surprisingly, the dolls didn't seem to be very important to other members of my family (at least not that I could tell), but for ME it was such a gift to make them! Love, Robin

KV said...

My heart goes out to you, Liz. Losing a wonderful father has such a tremendous impact on our life. Keeping those precious memories alive through your beadwork will always bring a smile to your face.

My father (who has been gone over 30 years now) shared his love for the stars with his children. I find him each evening when I scan the night sky . . .


Kathy V in NM

pam T said...

What a lovely tribute to your dad. Please accept my sympathy for your loss, but at least you were always close and will have him in your heart.

Kiwi Ellen said...

Liz I am sorry I didn't see this earlier.. My sorrow at your loss - that was a beautiful trubute to your dear Dad, who I can tell will always live in your heart.

freebird said...

It's hard to lose your dad even if they are 87. Age doesn't matter. I wish you peace and joy in your memories of him.

fatima said...

I am sorry for your loss liz. I lost my grand mother some months back and i know how hard it is to go through berievement. I never met your dad, but i am sure he must have been a wonderful person because he raised a brave and amazing daughter.

Hina said...

The tribute was very touching Liz. I now know something about him and he sounds like a great man.
May you stay strong and may his soul rest in peace. Amen

Vicky said...

I can't believe it's been a year already. Remember how long a year of school used to take. Now the time just flies by in the blink of an eye.

As I revisit this tribute to John Wilker, I think of so many things. Watching the Olympics reminded me of the ice rinks he used to build in the back yard, and how I sucked at ice skating (but there were ice skates of every size... enough for the whole neighborhood). I also remember the family trips that I wished our family could go on (but we never did), that I tried to do for my kids as a single parent (not quite the same). He was always good to me, and after I had kids, he was good to them too.

Things happen from time to time that cause me to think of John, and he is missed. He is blessed to be in a better place.