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Sunrise at Tombstone, AZ

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Vancouver for Christmas and Dad's unexpected passing.

Well..... Ray left Lost Dutchman State Park on the morning of the 20th, headed for Queen Valley RV Resort to park the Motorhome for the holidays and deliver Freya to our good friends Malc and Kathy for the holidays. Big thanks to you guys for taking care of Ray and making him dinner for his arrival. I know Freya will be well taken care of while he is gone.

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She is not too hard done by!
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Going for a walk at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

My Dad is not doing to well and lots of plans are trying to be made ... does he come home for the duration of his life, stay in the hospital in palliative care etc.

Ray left Phoenix today, December 21st as planned and will arrive "on the busiest day at the Vancouver International Airport" with possible flurries. Yikes. Can't wait for him to come home. As it turned out it did not take very long for him to clear customs and we arrived at the hospital by 6:30 pm so he could have a quick visit with Dad.

December 23rd, 2017

It is with great sadness to inform you that my Dad passed away yesterday at Peace Arch Hospital with family by his side. He had made up his mind that he was going to die at Christmas once everyone came into town to see him. Larny, his caregiver called me the morning of December 15th that he had “passed out” and was taken by ambulance to Peace Arch and admitted. I made it back from Phoenix on the next flight, December 16th. After that he was counting the days for when Ray and our kids were arriving to see him to spend Christmas.  It's been 7 years since we would all be together at the same time. My daughter and I stayed with him all night to make sure he was comfortable and enough drugs were being administered.

On the night of the 22nd around 7 pm, he had had about 18 visitors that day, from family and friends, and he counted us all out loud and then promptly closed his eyes. That was the last time we spoke. He passed away without suffering at around 10:30 am the next morning. One thing about my Dad, when he makes up his mind … that’s it.

Here are some pictures of my Dad

Dad, and his brothers Ken and Duncan
Duncan, George and Ken

Dad at about age 16. He always loved to fish.

My Grandpa, Duncan and my dad George

When my kids were small they had great adventures with their Grandpa as they flew down from the Charlottes and spent at least 6 weeks with him every year. He love boating and fishing and shared his love of it with his grandchildren and Ray and I as often as we could meet up.

My Dad and Mom with Garrett and Kristi on their sailboat.

Grandpa taking Kristi and Garrett Christmas Tree hunting!

When we all lived in Port Coquitlam he used to pick the kids up and take them grocery shopping so Ray and I could have some "alone time". At least that is what he said, but we all thought it was so all of the cute women would come up and talk to him and see his grandchildren while grocery shopping!
He came with Ray and I on a adventure to South Moresby in our Zodiac with the kids. He loved the idea of exploring with us. Such great memories.

Kristi took the picture.
 He came every year to steelhead fish while we lived in the Charlottes often dragging my Uncle Ken with him.

His pride and joy, Stasha II. Ray and I with the kids had many great holidays with Dad and Mom on this boat.

For quite a few years, Dad managed to arrange a Father's Day get away with his brothers for a fishing expedition. This boat was his 28 foot Bayliner.

George, Ken and Duncan
 Dad found the love of sailing so this year's Father's Day get together was on the Stasha I

Dad, Ken and Duncan

Dad was the "Chef" and always made sure everyone ate well.

Dad did a lot of travelling with his brother Ken and his wife Norma. He went with them to visit their brother Duncan and Touyet in San Francisco

Dad and my cousin Gord "shooting the Sh....t about Weiser Locks.

Betty and Dad's cat Opie. They came for Christmas in Port Alberi the first year we moved there from the Charlottes. Dad sure loved that cat for a guy who supposedly only liked dogs.

The last time we had him over to Port Alberni for Father's Day and took him sockeye fishing.

Two of my favourite men. 
Larny, Dad's live-in caregiver for the last 18 months, took extremely good care of him. He was very happy to be able to stay in his own home right up until the end which would have been impossible without her. She made his life full of laughs and great company. Thank you so much Larny. I was able to travel without worrying about my Dad with you there to take care of him.

Last Christmas. 2016 Thank you Larny for making Dad so happy. You dragged him into the feeling of Christmas whether he liked it or not. :)
Christmas 2016
My last picture of my father taken, December 17th. He looked like he was improving. No idea that he would pass away 6 days later.

RIP Dad will miss you a whole bunch. Love you.

Kristi and I spent  a good portion of the previous day and all night at the hospital. At 7:30 am Ray and Jason relieved us to stay with Dad so we could go home and get a couple hours of sleep. I prepared our "Christmas Dinner" for the kids  and just crawled into bed when Ray called to say that things were not good and we had better hurry back.  We were 10 minutes too late.

Once we were all home from the hospital on December 23rd. My kids decided we were going to have Christmas anyways. Dad would have wanted us to. I had the dinner/lunch prepped already and partially cooked so Garrett went and picked up my Aunt Norma and Uncle Ken in Coquitlam and brought them to the house. Kat and Ray tackled the kitchen that looked like a "bomb went off" as we had just made breakfast when Kristi and I got called back to the hospital and the prep for dinner was all over the place. My kids and their partners are awesome. Once everyone was settled we opened our presents with Garrett playing Santa. After that we had a late lunch at 2:30 pm with ham, scalloped potatoes and a salad.  (Fortunately this was all prepped the day before for the most part.) This is the first time we have all been together for about 7 years, Dad was with us in spirit. Ray and Jason took a few (I meant a lot) of pictures.

Our grand puppies.

Kira, Garrett's dog

Zeus, Kristi's dog

Athena in the corner ignoring everyone, another one of Kristi's dogs.
They were all extremely behaved.

Our Christmas Santa, Garrett
Kristi and Aunt Norma

Kristi and Jason got me a stake that will hold my beer, chips and a cocktail all at the same time and oh... you can poke it into the ground in the desert!  Uncle Ken beside me.

Ray got a batch of Kat's legendary home-made Pirate Cookies ... Yumm

Kristi and Aunt Norma

Uncle Ken giving me some "advice" or telling me a story.

Garrett gets an Arizona fleece from Mesa Market.

Kristi with her fleece.

Kat with her fleece.

Kristi showing off her earrings from Jason.
Jason's fleece

How about that ... Ken got a fleece too.

Love, love, love my sweatshirt from Kristi ... it will be worn proudly.

To Jason from Kristi .. good luck fly fishing.

Even though Dad was not with us, the kids received Christmas money from him.

Kristi with her Christmas money from Grandpa.

I wonder what Larny received?

Larny's husband Mark. The first time they have got to spend Christmas together in 7 years.

Garrett remembers what to get his mother for Christmas, at least xmas elves told him what to remember! lol

We all tried to be happy but it was certainly weird to not have Dad sitting where Ray was.

Christmas money from Grandpa.

Family photo op with all of us wearing our new fleece, scarves and sweatshirt.
My wonderful Aunt and Uncle

Yup feeling no pain after 48 hours of no sleep and several Christmas drinks under my belt.
 Larny set a beautiful table for us to have lunch. I said Grace, (Never done that before, but apparently did okay Larny told me.) as my grandfather always did at Christmas and a prayer for my Dad.

Right to left, Larny, Mark, Kat, Garrett, Ken, Norma, Jason, Kristi and Deb

Kat and Garrett left later in the afternoon for Kamloops as there was snow in the forecast on the 24th and I did not want them to drive in it. Ken and Norma were picked up about 4 pm by their son and daughter-in-law Gord and Suzanne after a nice visit. Larny and her husband Mark stayed for the lunch and then headed out to a work function Mark had been invited to. The rest of the evening Kristi, Jason, Ray and I spent relaxing and reminiscing about Dad. A Christmas Puzzle (a Kyle family tradition) also was completed this year by everyone.

Something to keep everyone's mind busy. Thanks Kristi, your idea was a great one.
Last night I finally slept 10 hours straight ... sure needed it. Christmas Eve Day, Kristi and Jason headed out back to the island at about 11:30 am. After vaccuming up the copious amounts of dog hair (love those german shedders) Ray and I spent the rest of the day unwinding. I had phone calls to make, getting started on the immense job ahead of me to handle Dad's estate. Fortunately Dad has good people in place to help me. He certainly had prepared for this day well in advance. Even sort of picked the day to die. Amazing.

Christmas morning I ended up waking up at 2 am and stayed awake for the rest of the day. Ray woke to me making the turkey dressing at 4:30 in the morning, can you say banging and crashing of pots. Mark and Larny arrived back about 10 am. Mark dropped Larny off and headed back to the chicken farm for work and would be back later in the afternoon. Everyone looks very tired. Larny reset the table for our Christmas Dinner as I am making turkey for Betty's daughter Kerri and her family. They have Christmas Dinner here for the last 10 years or so and I did not want it to change for them this year. Anyways after most of the prep for dinner done, Larny Ray and I watched Home Alone. Larny had never seen the movie and we were all in need of a good laugh.

We had found a tin with a whole bunch of coin in it. Betty had been looking for that tin for 10 years since they moved into this house ... finally it was located. Steve took estimates from everyone and then the money was spilled out onto the coffee table for everyone to count. That kept everyone occupied while I did the final prep on dinner. With being so tired I was pleasantly surprised everything turned out great.

Deb, Alyse, Kerri, Steve, Ray and Larny

We had their dog, Gus with us too. This time Mark, Larny's husband is in the picture.

After dinner, everyone helped clear the table and Steve with Kerri and Larny did up the dishes for me. Thanks a bunch guys. Once everyone was settled back in the family room, Alyse, who is 13 years old, showed us a bunch of her dance routines that she is working on for the this year's competitions. She has dance class of one sort or another 6 out of 7 days a week. Most days at least 2 or 3 classes from ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary. Her mother, Kerri, is extremely busy ferrying her around in between working 3 days a week as a teacher. All seems worth it when you watch her dance. Amazing.

It was hard to get a good picture of her dancing as she moves so fast and since we only have my camera here ... pics not as great.

We had a lovely visit. Kerri and I have lots of work ahead of us as I am sure her family is delegating her to take care of her mother's things in this house and I of course, have my dad's stuff to deal with.

So that was our Christmas .... Boxing Day we will go over to my Aunt and Uncles for lunch and visit the family. After that my work begins.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.