Ky and I are baby boomers; we're among those the tail end of those people born worldwide between 1946 and 1964. We're also in the sandwich years, those where we have young adult children and elderly parents. Or in our case, parent. My parents both passed away, much too young, at 57 and 67. Ky's mom died in 2014 at the age of 83. His father, Kyle, has been in a nursing home in Evanston, Il since then. He is one of my favorite people in the whole world, and it has been a huge blessing to be his daughter-in-law. I love that man!
Everyone loves Kyle. He's a kind, funny, intelligent and talented man who is just a joy to be around. He has lived a good life, in so many ways - as a devoted husband, helping to raise three genuinely good people, as a doting grandfather to three awesome grandkids, as a fantastic family member to all that had the blessing of being his kin, and as a friend and mentor to so many people.
Kyle had a very successful career as a dentist, starting his own practice and then retiring as a chief dentist in the VA dentistry system. He helped so many people over his years of practice with his wonderful chair-side manner. He originally hoped to be a graphic artist, but he chose a career that would more easily support a growing family. We've all enjoyed his prolific doodling, drawings and paintings though since he never gave up on loving to create.
He is drawing near to the end of his time on earth, and while we will be sad to see him go, all of us who love him and know his wishes and beliefs, know that he is ready to leave. The last four years have been difficult for him without his beloved Evelyn, his wife of 58 years. The cruel fate of memory loss has left him frequently asking where she is. Fortunately, he still remembers all of his family, asking about them by name and being so happy when any of us arrive to visit.
All of the staff at the nursing home where he is staying love him. He still cracks very funny jokes, he rarely complains, and when he does it is justified, and he gets the attention he needs because they know he's not normally complaining. They have mentioned that many people who live there never have family or guests visiting, and they are happy that Kyle has frequent visitors. I'm sure they understand that it's because he's a pretty amazing fellow, which is why people still want to be around him.
I love playing games with him, and he still makes me laugh every time we play Crocodile Dentist. When he touches the toothy toy's wrong tooth and it snaps shut on his finger, he always shows off his hand with one finger missing (being bent down in mock agony!) I am a fan of his stories, and I especially love it when he's in the mood to sing me a song. They're little ditties like, "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight" or something by Maddox Brothers and Rose (who's name I suspect he must love), and most recently I found out that he remembered every word to the tune "Do Your Boobs Hang Low." He had us totally cracking up as he sang it not just once, but twice, with the second version being even more spirited than the first!
I'm so thankful to have married his son, someone who has many of the same attributes as his father. Ky & I returned early from Mexico because Kyle is going to be transitioning to hospice and Ky wants to be there with his dad as well as his sister and brother-in-law, who have been devotedly caring for Kyle and visiting him regularly and frequently. Ky's brother will also be joining them, and braving one of Chicago's all-time worst winter storms to be there.
We are all thankful for the many wonderful years and memories with Kyle. What a guy!
Just a few of my many favorites: