Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Memories

Kevin’s father, the real Harry Potter, died over Memorial Day weekend five years ago. This WWII veteran was a devoted husband, a loving father and grandfather—a model family man. The loyalty and dedication he had to his wife, children, grandchildren, his career, and his country are what stood out the most in his life. His generosity, nurturing, and selflessness were prominent traits recognized by all.
Being there with him in his last days was a gift. Everyone gathered around to tell stories about his life, laugh, catch up with each other, all while honoring a great man with a lasting legacy. Kevin’s oldest sister Deb even brought Harry’s three beloved cats to the hospital one day, so he could see them one last time.
The morning before the day he died, Kevin and I made it to Rochester to see him. Kevin sat next to his hospital bed in the hospice ward. He held his hand and felt him grip it, though his eyes remained closed.
I met some members of Kevin’s extended family for the first time. We shared our wedding pictures with them. Stories, tears, laughter, and prayers filled the room with love and cherished memories creating stronger bonds and helping us all let go of Harry, so he could move on to the next life.
When Harry took his last breath, he opened his eyes briefly and saw all his children around the bed before he finally let go. The real Harry Potter passed away at 5:37pm on Sunday, May 29, 2005, surrounded by his family. Kevin noted that he was born on Labor Day and died on Memorial Day weekend.
The morning after his death, on Memorial Day, we realized he’d died on the exact day and time of the week when the family usually got together at the cottage to share a meal and enjoy an evening at the lake.
We love you, Harry! Thanks for the memories.
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