5. 2021 Random Notes


05.22.202-Back in my chair.

I’ve been away from the computer for far too long. So much has happen. Generlly they’re just insidental items that are boring to talk about at best. This time is different with the passing of my brother. Carla and I have been so busy these past couple of weeks.  The entire death with its “must-do’s,”  both before his death and folowing Dennis’ death have been very time-consuming. This is actually our first day with “nothing” that must be done. Dennis’ condo has finally been restored to its original looks, and it looks great. It’s so amazing how much we acquire and feel we need to carry on each day until death steps in, then people like Carla and I come and throw out just about everything, I’m confident, he felt he needed all this stuff to get through the week.

But someone has to do it. In so many stacks of papers and pictures, we got to know Dennis just a little more than we knew before. As of last Friday the job is finished and the condo has already been shown twice. It would be a great little home for us if it were not in Florida. Dennis’ attorney and our Realtor have now figuratively joined our family. It should not take very long to sell the condo but we do have to replace a rug in the master bedroom. Sorting out his assets and possessions might take a few weeks, we’ve been told, but it to will also come to pass eventually.

For us personally, we’re stuck in Florida, John Prince Park to be specific, in two respects. Dennis’ personal business and our coach has come down with a major repair. The  slide, of course, behind the drivers seat, died. Actually the entire slide system and leveling system is down; mostly due to old age. Newer morothomes, which we do not have, utilize electric motors to bring slides in and out and levelers up and down. We, on the other hand, have hydrolics. Our situation is that we continue to have a leak or a few leaks, so fine they’re hard to find. Trouble is that when the fluid leaks out, the system fails. We also have a control panel panel failure which probably failed because of the major leak. We hope to find out this week if the manufacturer, HWH in Iowa, will be nice enough to repair the panel. If not…I rather not think about it!

Today we’ve signed up for another 2-week extention to our stay. I only hope we can get under way by the end of June, but that might be optimistic.

More to come.


In Memory of Dennis

Dennis P. Grenier 

(Dennis is the younger dude on the right)

Dennis attended Cardinal Spellman HS and graduated in 1965. His devotion to his faith began well before Spellman and accompanied him throughout his life. From Spellman he attended Bentley School of Accounting, which prepared him for a position as Assistant to the Corporate Accountant of Bridgestone Tire Company in California; a position generally held by others twice his age.

After a few years the Florida bug bit him and he moved to Boca where our mother was living in Century Village. Now he’s jobless. Everyone loved Dennis. A couple from New York asked Dennis if he would check their Condo every other week for the summer months for a fee while they traveled back to New York for six months. Within a couple of years Dennis was checking over 300 condos for “snow-birds;” (At least was supposed to check) Not a bad gig for six months work!

One afternoon when he was at home, a pal he knew from a few years back asked Dennis if he would put him up until he got back on his feet, Dennis, of course, said yes. This gesture gave him an alternative to checking condos so he sold that business and within a couple of years he was providing individuals this same service at a very good weekly rate.

His last years prior to retirement were spent caring for our mother with caregivers to help until she passed. By the time he retired he had acquired properties containing twenty-one rentable rooms in the city of Boca, one of Florida’s most desirable locations. Most admirably of all was the modest life style he lived even though he was well travelled. He finaly began to relax and enjoy life. He enjoyed many weeks and weekends with us in our motorhome and, as you see in the picture, at our weekend home on Seabird Island, Florida, fishing.

But at sixty-nine and having sold all his apartments life would throw him a curve he was not expecting. One week after checking out a motorhome that would be his retirement plan, he would have a stroke. This stroke left him left-side impaired. For five years he would be confined to a chair in his home with 24-hour care from caregivers. I don’t know if I could have endured all he did all those years. Carla and I would, of course, visit him especially during the Florida winter months until Covid-19 came on the scene. We stayed to ourselves for fifteen-months until all of us got our “shots.”

In May of 2021, Dennis would turn 74. It was safe for all to get together for a change. We arrived on the 30th of April and had four great days visiting together. On the 3rd we celebrated his birthday. The next day he had a second stroke. We would never speak to Dennis again. Dennis would now be comatose-like and in Hospice care.

On the evening of his second night in hospice Carla and I were with him listening to him breathe in raspy tones as he was desperately trying to take in air as saliva filled his throat. Dennis for years was desperate for HIM to call him from this earth but HE never obliged. Before leaving Dennis that night I knew if it were possible he would try to survive this challenge, but to survive was not an option. Before leaving that evening, I approached Dennis’ bed, put my arm firmly around his head and whispered in his ear; “Dennis you’re good, you’ve done everything right. You’ve been given the last rights and you have your scapular; HE is finally calling you and Mom is anxious to see you again- now is the time to stop fighting.”

Later that evening we receive a call; Dennis had passed!

Dennis, I love you, Brother Paul “62”

Dennis’ last days

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.