I cannot even re-read that last post I put here on October 13. I was so happy about being able to go to the Bay Area and Santa Cruz to do my Perfection novel research and see my family again. The very next day, the 14th, my father was admitted to the hospital and then had two heart attacks. I hoped he would get better. Too much optimism, perhaps!
He worsened on Monday and I drove to the Bay Area to see him on Tuesday. I saw him in the ICU for an hour or two late Tuesday, then went back to my motel room to sleep, hoping I’d be there to see him in the morning while he wasn’t sedated. Well, it never happened. He passed away not long after I left the hospital room.
My “vacation” became a jumble of grieving, welcoming and seeing relatives, sleeping on my brother’s sofa in Alameda, the viewing, the funeral. Happy to see my relatives, sorrowing over my father’s passing. Love, hugs, and tears.
His illness started with a cold. He had a sore throat. Then breathing problems. Then heart attacks, and possible pneumonia. Sedation and life support. Next kidney failure. A little illness can devastate an 87 year old man. I wish people who fall ill would stay home more and not infect others.
We wrote the obituary! It was a fantastic writing experience! First I wrote the basis… just a few facts. My sister embellished that, adding quite a bit. Next my brother and his wife reviewed it, and my sister’s husband helped as well. With five opinionated people editing it was an amazing experience.
Here’s what we wrote about Dad:
Wayland Elman Martin
(January 1, 1924 – October 19, 2011)
After a brief illness, Wayland Martin passed away at the age of 87 in Walnut Creek, California. He lived a full and active life, and will be very much missed by his beloved wife Darlene, his family and friends.
He was born in Auburn, New York, to Frank and Luella Martin. Their firstborn son, Ora, died shortly after birth, and their second son, Gerald, passed away a few years ago in Oregon. Wayland was their third and final child. When he was three, the family moved west to California, where they settled in Pasadena and survived the Great Depression under difficult circumstances.
He was drafted by the Army and served our country for four years during World War II. Wayland graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Berkeley while serving in the military, specializing in Southeast Asian languages. While stationed in Calcutta and Burma, he used these language skills as part of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a precursor of the CIA. After his discharge he moved to the San Francisco East Bay Area, where he lived the rest of his life.
Wayland loved his work! He worked 58 years for O.C. Jones and Sons, a paving and grading construction company in Berkeley. He started working as an accountant for O.C. Jones after his military service at the age of 24. The company was very small at the time. He eventually became Chief Financial Officer and retired when he was 82 years old! By that time, the company had grown into a leading general engineering contractor in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
In 1972, Wayland met Darlene Dixon, his future wife, at a square-dance for singles. He married her five months later after a whirl-wind romance. They enjoyed 39 very happy years together. Their interests in life have been many, including travel and cruises all over the world, as well as exhibition ballroom dancing. However, their great love together has been their family. Wayland loved to spend time with the many members of his extended family, and cherished his time with them.
Wayland is remembered for his wonderful dry sense of humor, his love for his family, and his kindness, generosity, and humility. He had a methodical, organized, and disciplined approach to life and work. He took care to be responsible in all areas of his life. He especially had a consistently positive outlook.
Wayland was a great fan of ragtime and Dixieland jazz, including his favorite band, Firehouse Five Plus Two. He also loved reading, particularly books about World War II and other histories.
He is survived by his wife, Darlene; nine children Susan, Linda, Jon, Kyle, Joyce, Craig, Tina, Sheryl, Lisa and their spouses; sixteen grandchildren; thirteen great-grandchildren; and three nephews and a niece; who all love and miss him very much.
A Visitation will be held Monday October 24, 2011 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in Oakmont’s Redwood Chapel. Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. also in the Redwood Chapel.
Originally posted at the Oakmont Cemetary website.
[Update: I removed my October 13 posting – I just could not bear to see it again.]
[Update: 10/31/12 – I restored the October 13 posting… it has been over a year since this painful experience, and I can now handle reading it again. What happened: I was planning a one-week trip for novel research and research for my CA travel site. I intended to see my family while I was there, and hadn’t seen my father since the last time I was able to go to the SF Bay Area in 2003. Then, only a few days before I was to leave on my journey, my father got sick and passed away. It totally changed the mood and character of my journey and I had to spend two weeks there instead of just the one I originally planned. Fortunately I was able to spend nights with my brother while we were waiting for the funeral; that cut down on my travel expenses as I’m not really all that financially well-off enough to stay in hotels all the time. Thanks bro! So now I’ve restored the post because it documents that my trip was intended originally for novel and web writing research, not for a funeral. My father’s death was totally unexpected and a huge disappointment to me, as you can probably understand, especially since I hadn’t seen him in so long. I was devastated and it has taken me a long time to work through my grief.]