4.30.2021-Fri.- Visit with Dennis
We visit with Dennis over what will eventually his birthday and final days with us. I can honestly say that that the events to follow in the next seven-days were not even anticipated. We arrived in Boynton Beach actually on April 30th, but it’s in the May blog to help the timeline. We would be staying at the John Prince Park for fourteen days, we thought. The day we arrived we were off to visit Dennis. Thanks to Covid it had been a 15-month wait for this day. He was in very good spirits as usual. Not only did we come to just visit but to also celebrate his 74th birthday.
5.01-Sat.-John Prince Park
Today was one of those days everyone prays for. The temps for the day around 75 and the sun was comfortably warm. It’s still not his birthday yet, he just liked hooking up with us no matter where we were at. He joined us many times in our travels before his first stroke. Camile, was one of his caregivers, since his problems first began back over four years ago. It was a very simple day but very enjoyable. Dennis provided the hambergers and fries and we took care of the drinks. Dennis was unusually talkative mostly reminissing of previous locations he’d hooked up with us the last few years.
Prior to 2013, way back when, Carla and I owned an old trailer on Seabird Island, Florida. It was nothing to brag about but literally every weekend we would find ourselves there relaxing with fishing pole in hand. Fish, talk and eat pizza was our itenerary every weekend. Dennis joined us on many of these weekends, only wish he’d come more often. The night of his birthday he reminissed about those weekends regretting he’d not joined us more often. It was about a two-hour drive from Boca, where he lived, but as I’ve heard so many times, he always thought there would always be so many more days to enjoy in the future.
Mary Ann, Carla’s sister, owned the trayler next to ours. The novelty of fishing was not always our number one priority, but when it came to fishing Mary Ann always had her line out and Dennis joined her many times. Dennis always caught something, mostly because his line was always out. Most times the fish we caught and released were 6-10 inches. On occassion one of us would catch something worth talking about. Above Dennis caught a three-foot shark and our most often catch was a catfish. The catfish was always deceiving becuse of the fight they all gave when caught. Now to stop deviating.
05.02,21-The day before Dennis’ birthday..
Dennis was so easy to please. We could gift wrap (loosly) a nespaper and he’d find something nice to say about it. This was the 2nd, not the third, actually the day before his birthday. I had an early afternoon dental appointment I could not break and did not want to keep Dennis waiting untill early evening for his special day. We all enjoyed a typical New England boiled dinner.; something Dennis remenissed about occassionally since that was the usual repas (meal) de jour each Sunday in our family decades ago.
Above Dennis begins to open gifts as Camile, his caregiver, reads his birthday card. This year it was a little funnier than most years. Dennis had just recently begun sending away for plants for his patio. So his newest hobby would be to be a plant farmer. He had bought six big vases that would definitely not blow over to begin his new hobby. Below was one of our gifts a pair of trimmers.
Above he opens his last gift, over six-dozen “Christmas Cookies” 6-months ahead of schedule. If you really wanted to make him happy it would be a batch of my mother’s cookies. We also gave him a Blooming Jasmin plant. That’s a plant everyone enjoys since it blooms and releases its scent in the evening; awesome. We spent the rest of the day till about 6pm watching the rich sail by in their mega yaghts poking fun at them for any old reason. A little after six he began to feel tired so we left to let him rest. I look back on that day wondering why did I not take more pictures, after all, film is cheap. But, as I’ve mentioned before, there’ll always be many more birthdays so these pictures will serve as a simple reminder of this birthday.
05.03.21-Dennis’ actual birthday day.
No pictures that day. By the time a returned from the Dentist and got over to Dennis’ it was about 4pm. It would be uneventful. We watched a little TV then meandered out to the patio to view more boats. Those last couple of hours he remenissed on so many parts of his life. People he new, girls he dated and was still in touch with them, how thankful he was to have known and worked with “Big Joe” for so many years. It was also a Grenier trait from the time of my Mother to just remind a family membe of his/her intentions should and when the Lord comes a calling. All the tools Dennis still possessed he insisted were to go to Joe and also reminded me that he had promised Camile that she would get his TV where they had spent so many hours watching together. I reassured him I had kept his hand written notes on these priorities and would follow through but not to worry since our family has longevity and we’d have more birthdays together. Once again Dennis began to feel a little tired shortly after 6pm, so we said our “good-byes” for the evening and returned to the coach.
05.04.21-The day after
The next morning as we were eating breakfast we got a call from his caregiver that Dennis awoke dizzy and very disoriented; She placed the 911 call and the paramedics came. We caught up with him about an hour later in the hospital- he had experienced a second stroke, this one worse than the first. By end of day he would be sent to the second floor of the hospital, the Hospice Unit. Two nurses and his Doctor spoke to me all with the same message, Dennis would not be coming home; he died thirty-six hours later on the 6th of May.