June 3, 2022- The four boxes had sat in my bedroom closet, unopened for nearly four years. Once I cleaned out said closet, this afternoon, it was time to open the boxes and see just how much of a treasury of record was left behind by my father-in-law, with regard to his time as a Prisoner-of-War. The four boxes have a complete account of that harrowing time in his life and all the medals not included in a framed collage, which I also have.
These are all in a safe location and will be properly transferred to someone else in the family, at a later date. In the meantime, I will examine each box more carefully. This is probably the most precious historical collection which has ever been entrusted to me, and I’m honoured.
When Pops passed on, in 2014, he was accorded great honours-though due to a backlog at Arlington National Cemetery, it took several months to inter the man’s body. It was a grand and moving ceremony, despite that delay. It came on the heals of my visit to the sites of D-Day at Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, in Bastogne and Metz, and Berga, where he was held prisoner. I will revisit these and other sites, in 2045, the centenary of the end of World War II.
The day ended with the discovery that one of my neighbours had died, alone and unnoticed for several days. I did not know him well, but was under the impression that he was being tended by “close friends”. He had told us, in the past, that he was doing “alright” and did not want to be disturbed. The circumstances of his passing underscore just how wrong the culture of anonymity is. We can’t very well impose ourselves on people, yet every soul deserves a full measure of dignity. I know enough about the man to know that he lived an honest life and worked hard as a cabinetmaker. May his peace be eternal.
This last year has been difficult as 4 of my neighbors have died. Their circumstances much different that your neighbor. Still the loss of even a nodding acquaintance can be startling and cause us to pause. This is sad that he died alone – no one should move from this life to the next uncomforted….
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It is ever a hard row, at times. Penny passed only three minutes before we got to her bedside, yet I could feel connected to her spirit, from the time we got out of the car at Hospice to the time she was laid to rest. Of course, I sense that she did not really feel alone at the end.