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Sunday, November 15, 2009

John E Wren died 30 years ago today.

His hospital bed surrounded by family and friends, Pop did not pass quietly. If not a rage it was certainly a struggle there in Denver's Porters Hospital.

This morning, it suddenly dawned on my why the struggle. Pop must have finally realized it was time to go, as the hospice ladies were encouraging us to tell him, and with that realization he must have decided to get off the stage quickly. He played his part well right to the end of this life.

His last words to my mother had come earlier, that day or the day before if I understand correctly: "Don't worry honey, we'll whip this."

Pop always had whipped back adversity, right up until this final stuggle when it suddenly became clear that it was time to go. So he did.

He'd married my mom, Jane Edwards, a year or two behind him, a cheerleader and the most popular girl at Amarillo High School (I know she was and is because I got to see how they treat her at the 50th high school reunion). Mom a couple of years out of school, dad on a leave from the Navy, March 16, 1944 they eloped. I was born in 1947, they moved to Colorado in 1949, and had two more sons as they built a successful business which they sold in 1969 when I graduated from DU.

Dad was a Christian, but he never could find a church that met his standards. He left one when he offered to pay for Sunday school teachers who did more than just babysit, and they wouldn't do it. 

His deep faith and regular attendance from church to church seemed to help him be a high achiever, but it didn't appear to be a real comfort to him at the end. His then current pastor left his room with tears in his eyes and told me, "You dad just said a very profound thing. 'It's hard to fight two battles.'"

Pop we still miss you. Your 55 summers were not enough. Facing 30 winters without you has been hard for us all.

But this morning I take comfort in the prayer of a poem you recited so often:

As going through life,
Whatever be your goal,
Keep your eye upon the donut,
And not upon the hole.

I'm grateful Pop, for all the good lessons and the time we did get with you. And don't worry, Mom, we'll whip this. 

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