Jan 23rd 2008

Final Chapter, pt 1: Glen/Izzy – Glen’s passage

Posted in Glen & Ann, Izzy

January 23, 2008 – Glen died early Wednesday afternoon, comfortably, peacefully and lovingly. He lived a good life, and died a good death. His family was with him, and so was Izzy, who did an amazing job of comforting him and the family, then needed some comforting himself. I got to read Glen the Carl Sandburg poem “Tall Timber” just before he died,
these verses, fit for a logger:

“Night calls many witnesses
to supply evidence, to report honestly,
the meaning of dying, loving, being born.

“Then let Night come into court.
The tall timber testifies, the moon, the mist, testify
Let us hear the oaths of these unimpeachable witnesses.”

Glen told me many good stories about his logging days and his beloved dog Pal, and a carving of Pal is going into Glen’s casket. Glen led a simple life – no vacations, no dining out, but he told me earlier this week that he got everything he wanted in life – a good wife, a child he loved, work he loved, and a new Ford truck every three years. “As long as we had food on the table, I was happy.” It’s a pretty good epitaph.
He told me he considered himself a wealthy man. So did I.
Izzy was very much affected by Glen’s death. He reacted visibly and sharply, moving away from Glen’s bed, and holing up in a corner, then onto Glen’s other bed, looking so drained and still that Ann, Glen’s sister-in-law, became concerned and went to see him. Ann exudes love and spirituality, and took extraordinary care of Glen, as did her husband John.
I was concerned about Izzy,  too. He looked exhausted, bewildered, as if he had failed in his work somehow. He and Ann spent an hour comforting one another, as before, a remarkable thing to see. They each drew affection and strength from one another. This dog is a mystery to me, and I suspect it will remain that way. On the way home,  a long drive from the Adirondacks, and since, he has barely moved.
Glen’s family is committed to sharing their experience, both in words and pictures, in part to demonstrate the hospice idea that death, while sad, need not be grim or depressing. It can be quite beautiful, moving, even uplifting. That was certainly the case with Glen.
I was also stunned, and deeply affected by the instincts and skill of Izzy, and the impact he had on helping Glen come to terms with his own emotions, and intensely supporting members of the family who needed his attention and affection. It is his work. He made a difference.
John and Ann asked that Izzy come to the memorial service for Glen, and he will be there.
I am posting some photos tonight, and then again, tommorrow. Tonight, I’m putting up a picture of Ann looking at the family album, Izzy by her side. He did a lot of good.
I guess I’m a bit drained myself.