Sunday, April 25, 2010

Reporting For Duty

Reporting For Duty
Samuel Charles Gundy
March 28, 1918 - April 23, 2010

A man of science and a child of God passed into the early morning cloud formations after a week of waging one final battle to hold on to life and stay behind with those he loved so well. As I and others had done for the better part of a week, I sat beside him and attended to his needs as best I was able. At such a time, the willingness to help and the ability to help are dueling realities. There was for all intents and purposes nothing that I or any of us could do to help besides be there and provide whatever comfort that may have been. The desire to hold on must be tempered by the permission to let go - a balancing act that I found to be one of the more substantive challenges of my life. Dignity- so hard to achieve in life seems even harder to maintain at such a time.

Family was all present and accounted for. Hospice volunteers and providers were a constant source of comfort and guidance. If you believe in angels, you might just consider that one or many of them are by your side when Hospice and Home Instead arrive on location. I had one hand on my dad’s heart and the other holding his hand when he drew his last breath and the heart began its permanent state of rest. The moment I had dreaded for so long a time was actually very peaceful. Regrets, there were none. Everything said that needed to be. And as he went, the expression on his face transformed the pain of more than half a century into the smile of a lifetime, a most curious miracle that astounded us all and delivered the message that all was well with him…and that it should be so with those of us left behind.

Somewhere above, a spirit (probably wearing a flight jacket with a B-17 pin on the lapel and shoulder patch) flies even without wings, marveling at all the undiscovered mysteries of the next life. And at the gates of Heaven arrives a dashing now young-again pilot who stands before his maker and offers in full and honorable fashion, with a click of the heels and a crisp salute:
First Lieutenant Samuel C. Gundy
Reporting For Duty As Ordered, Sir!

-Gregory S. Gundy, April 23, 2010


bob said...

A very lovely tribute to your father. Lost my father-in-law a few weeks ago in similar fashion and age.These men of WW II of which few remain were a unique breed who lived through a war and then the transformation of technology. We loved them and they always provided strong support. My own father went quickly at a too young age. Glad you had your last few days to assure yourself all was well with him as he moves to a new adventure. I am sure he is proud to be your dad.

Camille Carnell Pronovost said...

My sincere sympathies, Greg. Your tribute brought tears to my eyes.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are offered at this difficult time.

Mark and Chris said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dad, Greg. Brought back memories of my dad who we lost in 2001. Please accept our sincere condolences.

Wishing you both safe travels.

sarah om said...

Thank you for sharing Greg. I am very sorry for your loss.

I was with my father too, when he died, and I felt like I was watching a birth. A passing is indeed a "most curious miracle".

Alex Voog said...

The Greatest Generation... most assuredly. Sorry for your loss. A very touching tribute, I'm sure just writing it began the healing process. Be Well, Alex, a GPAA Member in Chicago.

Michelle said...

I knew as soon as I clicked on the blog today I would see the most beautifully written tribute I would ever read....and as always Greg, you never let me down! You were lucky to have him as a dad and he was lucky to have you as a son.....
Take care,

Dennis said...

Your tribute to your Dad overwhelmed me with emotion. Always tough to say "good-bye". I never had that chance and would have loved to hold his hand one last time. My sincerest condolences.

Anonymous said...

Greg, Sue and I are so sorry for your loss. We think of you daily and our prayers go out to you and all of your family. Love George and Sue and Melissa