He was 77. He had some little troubles typically connected with his age, but was otherwise a healthy person. Four days before he was admitted to the hospital, he participated in the annual dinner event of his 'copains' at the Institut Technique in Ath, and was by all accounts the healthiest and most able of the group. Four days later he was on Intensive Care, only to leave it when he was not among the living anymore.
A complicated pattern of bladder and lung infections hinted at a possibly false lead to leukemia. On top of that, stomach bleedings, swallow problems and low blood pressure led to his gradual weakening. Perhaps too much attention went to the false lead, and the load his heart was subjected to was maybe given insufficient attention. If so, I think I cannot blame the doctors. I guess it was a very complicated pattern.
As it was, for one month, his heart tried to cope with the implications, often hovering around 140.
In the end it gave up the unequal battle.
There is a fine book to write about the tremendous personality of my father, but I just don't have the heart to write even a short essay. My mother, three sisters and I are devastated. I am devastated. Papa leaves a gaping hole in our lives, and I am frightful of my mother, his wife for 49 years, having to walk alone through that great house with all those memories assaulting her.
As gruesome as the experience is - this is actually the first huge personal loss I experience in my life - I can now better comprehend the pain and suffering of people losing loved ones not only to sickness or age but also in great natural disasters, blind terrorist attacks, or war.
I, who have always endorsed the current war, and will continue to do so, am now feeling the pain of families losing service members in battle. It brings once again home how precious life is.
My sisters and I owe my parents enormously. My mother and father litterally started from scratch and were able to give us uncomplicated and comfortable youths with the best education we could get.
I hope that in the coming days I may be able to put down at least a small testimony to my father's love for his family and offspring, his labour ethic and his dedication to his work, his general principles in life which were conservative, though he never used that term.
My father Herman was my Great Example. It is my task to continue to live cherishing the same values he, in fact, embodied.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."
~ Psalm 23:4 ~
Rest in peace, dear papa. Your son.