A Death In The Family, Part 2

On Thursday I got the news that Tom McGril, my stepdad (he and my mother had been together for about ten years), had died. Unlike the death of Hilde's brother Greg, this wasn't unexpected; Tom had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a six month prognosis about five-and-a-half months ago. Still, hard to hear, especially coming on top of Greg's death last week.

Tom and Mom met when Tom was recovering from hip surgery, and hired Mom (she was living in the same trailer park community) as a caregiver until he (literally) got back on his feet. Things developed, they moved in together, and eventually got married.

Tom was a good guy, who reminded me a lot of my father (who passed away in 1980) and made life better for Mom while they were together. He was also an accomplished painter, who was still giving classes when Mom met him. (He'd stopped painting in recent years, having lost enough fine control to feel he could continue. That was a loss.)

I'm of mixed mind about Tom's death from cancer. Yes, it gave time to make some preparations and planning, but the last couple of months of Tom's life varied from Pretty Bad to Really, Really Bad. Greg's death, shocking and unexpected as it was to his family and friends, at least meant that Greg went quickly and relatively painlessly. (And it also, speaking pragmatically, saved the expense of a long drawn-out illness. Tom's care and treatment over the last months means Mom is left with little in the way of savings anymore.)

(I also want to give a shout-out to my brother Denny and his wife Debbie - especially Debbie - for extraordinary expenditures of time and energy caring for, arranging care for, transporting to medical appointments, etc, for both Tom and my Mom these last months.)


A Death In The Family

Hilde's brother, my brother-in-law, Greg Hildebrand, died unexpectedly last night.

Apparent cause was a heart attack.  He'd complained of aches in his shoulders and back, and went to bed early, about 9:00.  When his wife Deb checked on him about a half-hour later, he was non-responsive.  She called 911, and he went into full cardiac arrest in the ambulance and couldn't be revived.

Totally unexpected.  There's no family history of cardiac problems; the Hildebrands almost invariably die of various abdominal cancers, and at a considerably older age.  (He was 57.)  Greg had been losing weight and reducing his blood pressure in recent months, so to all appearances he was getting fitter.

We'd been over to Greg & Deb's Friday night, and there were no signs of what would happen 24 hours later.

Hilde's being hit pretty hard by this.  Greg was her only sibling, and he was seven years younger than her; she'd more or less helped raise Greg while her mother worked to support the family.  With all of Hilde's health problems, she never expected to outlive her brother.

Besides Deb, his wife, he leaves behind his two daughters, Lea and Gwen, from his first marriage, and a lot of friends.

He was a pretty good guy.  (If I tried to say he was a saint, he'd have guffawed.)  He was always there for family and friends.   Our politics tended to be pretty far apart a lot of the time, but he was always good-natured about it.  I'm going to miss him.

(Just for the record, I should point out that Hilde's brother, Greg Hildebrand, should not be confused with the fantasy artist Greg Hildebrandt.  It's happened a time or two.)


Google Gets Its Priorities Straight

Google, in its practice of having special logos for special days, celebrates Wil Eisner's 94th birthday: