6.01.2007

Sibling Assignment #23: Honoring A Simple Request

On this day in 1996 our father Raymond "Pert" Woolum died after a short struggle with liver cancer. Our sibling assignment this week was to reflect on what we remember during that time. Raymond Pert’s is here and Silver Valley Girl’s is here.

Dad lived out his last weeks of life at home. That was what he wanted. His doctor came to the house. The people from Hospice provided care. My brother took a leave from work and came home. I split my time between school and Kellogg. Silver Valley Girl brought her family up to spend a week also.

We were inexperienced with cancer, Hospice, and care taking. What I remember most is how each of us fell into roles that were needed at that time. Mom worked hard at keeping a routine. She cleaned, cooked, greeted friends, gardened, and calmly worked side by side with the Hospice staff. My brother, sister, and I tried to fall in roles that we thought would help. Raymond Pert relieved Mom and sat with Dad at night. Silver Valley Girl brought her children home to their Papa Pert which gave all of us joy and a needed distraction. I floundered between entertaining children, keeping track of my dogs, sitting with Dad, running errands,organizing food, and grieving. Raymond Pert arriving at the Prichard Tavern with Dad.

Dad had a large circle of friends in Kellogg. Many of them had been friends since childhood. On May 13th Dad had a simple request. He wanted to take a drive up the Coeur d’ Alene River for the last time. He wanted to meet some friends at the Prichard Tavern and have a beer, a burger, and conversation. That was a request we could honor.

Each of us kicked into our roles again. We called friends, organized the trip, loaded up a caravan, and headed up the river. It was a cold, rainy day but that didn’t put a damper on our spirits. During the drive on that May day I tried to see Dad’s favorite river with new eyes and put myself in Dad’s shoes, thinking how it might be knowing it may be the last time to see a natural beauty that he had loved and appreciated for more than sixty years.


Lasting memories were made that day. The Princess learned to play pool in a tavern at age five. Dad and his friends sat around a table and reminisced, laughed, enjoyed a beer, and good food. (Dad is in the red suspenders. Brother Raymond Pert is to the right overseeing "the crony corner".) Having a day out of the house was good for Mom also. She relaxed, visited, and enjoyed herself. Silver Valley Girl and her husband videotaped, and laughed at their children running around in a tavern. I took pictures and a walk with two of my nieces.
The Princess and Zu2 outside taking a walk with me. Zu2 loved to say "cheese."

We all naturally fell into our roles during that month in 1996. Often times we were confused about what we were to do next. Considering our lack of experience I think we all did the best we could do at the time.
Digging through pictures today was bittersweet. There have been so many times we wish Dad was here to fill in the gaps on Kellogg trivia he knew so well, straighten us out on some goofy thing we did, or look at us with misty eyes and say, “ I know I don’t always tell you this, but I am proud of you.” I love and miss you Dad.

A Meme for Friday

Ponderosa Pinings tagged me for this meme.
INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:

Then tag five more people. I am going to pass on that today, but feel free to pick it up. Just drop me a comment if you participate.

Answer the following questions:
What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was designing the first gardens after just living in my house for a year. I was also dating JEJ and we were making plans for marriage, which happened that August.

What were you doing one year ago?
Spending the week-end camping at Canyon Creek.
Five snacks you enjoy:
popcorn, almonds, granola bars, dark chocolate, melon

Five songs that you know all the lyrics:
Summer Breeze, American Pie, Benny and the Jets, Say a Little Prayer, American, the Beautiful

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
write full-time, landscape the hillside, give to charity, fix our fence, put in a sprinkler system

Five bad habits:
obsessing over trivial things, procrastinating, not being active enough, snacking, doubting myself

Five things you like doing:
writing, gardening, conversations around the table with family, arranging bouquets, recipe collecting

Five things you would never wear again:
big shoulder pad jackets, tube top, halter top, permed, bleached unhealthy hair, polyester pantsuits

Five favorite toys:
digital camera, laptop, Phase Ten card game, Yahoo games, tent trailer

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