A few months after his 91st birthday and a few weeks shy of his and my mother's 65th wedding anniversary.
My mind is mush right now. I have thoughts coming from the heart and others coming from the head.
My head thoughts say he was 91 and had led a great life. Born in England, joined the British Army at 14 as a trumpeter and was on active duty at the age of 15 on the border between Afghanistan and what is now Pakistan. He was dispatched to France at the beginning of WWII and served there until the Dunkirk evacuation. He was a sergeant by the age of 19. He served with the Royal Horse Artillery (very elite in the British Army) and attained the rank of Captain by his 21st birthday. He served as a forward observation officer in combat with the Japanese Empire in Burma and was awarded the Military Cross (think one notch below your Medal of Honour) for bravery in combat on the battle field. They were very poorly equipped and averaged only one rifle for every 10 men with only 5 rounds per rifle. He was in command of a regiment of Gurkhas, a group of warriors he had nothing but the highest respect for. After serving in India, France, Belgium, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Germany, and England, he left the army in 1946 when he married my mother. They emigrated to Canada in 1951 where he became a hospital administrator and consultant. For anyone interested he even wrote a book about his experiences that can be viewed here Amazon.com: Pick Up Your Parrots and Monkeys...: The Life of a Boy Soldier in India - A Brilliant Memoir of the Last Days of the Raj (Cassell Military Trade Books) (9780304365647): William Pennington: Books. He had several battles with cancer over the years including one about 15 years ago that I still remember vividly. His Dr. looked him in the eye and said "You will be dead within 6 months". She was wrong, and we were blessed with the extra time together.
The thoughts from my heart? My Dad's gone. He took me fishing, camping and helped me through scouts. He mentored me and made sure I persevered and succeeded in life. And now he's gone. I walked into the hospital room yesterday morning to see the shell of a once great man. Now weighing maybe 90 pounds, ashen, with lifeless eyes staring out the window. I always thought the nurses would close them once he was gone.
Thanks for letting me post this here.