3/20/2011

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.)

2 comments:

Will Shetterly said...

I hear that. I hate the way our country handles these things.

mjlayman said...

I'm sorry for Tom, too. It's a lot to deal with so closely.