McCroskey clan gathering

This morning, my sister and her family came over to help take Dad to church along with his wheelchair, but by the time we finally arrived, the congregation was singing the last worship song, and then they were having Mission Sunday. Dad was disappointed that it wasn’t going to be a regular church service, so after about 20 minutes of being there, he decided he wanted to go home. There was a clan gathering to get ready for.

Lauryn and her family took me out to lunch in a nearby restaurant, and it turned out that one aunt and cousin were eating in another restaurant in that complex and an aunt and uncle were eating in a third restaurant in the complex. If we had known, we could have all met up in one restaurant!

When we got back to Dad’s house, I helped Elaine put out snack platters and water, and not long after, the first guests arrived.

Rob and Lauryn on the couch on the left, Cousin Jane and Uncle Mac on the couch on the right.
From L-R: Elaine, Aunt Evelyn, Dad, and my nephew, Nate

As people kept arriving, we outgrew the family room and had to all move to the living room. That involved getting Dad into his wheelchair to move him.

The five siblings from oldest to youngest: Dad is the firstborn, sitting in the wheelchair. Aunt Evelyn on the opposite end of the couch is number two. Uncle Mac, practically buried in the middle, is number three. Aunt Sannie in the red sweater is number four. Uncle Doug, sitting next to Dad, is the baby in the family. He is only a year older than my older sister, Sherill, would have been if she was still alive.
From L-R: Elaine, Aunt Kay in the pink, Cousin Julie, Cousin Jane (from different families), Rob, and Lauryn

Several years ago, Dad had a surgery where they put a tube down his throat, but when they did that, they damaged his vocal cords, so he has a rather soft voice. He started to tell a story about a trip he took to Mexico with a friend when he was a teenager. Everyone was intently listening so that they could hear him. Sometime in the middle of the story, Aunt Sannie, who has Alzheimers, said, “I have a story to tell,” and she launched into a lengthy story, mostly from her imagination according to her daughters, and forgot where she was going with it. Her daughters finally told her to let Dad finish his story. A couple of other times, Aunt Sannie tried to talk and her daughters decided it was time to take her home.

Cousin Julie, Aunt Sannie, and Cousin Kristine. Aunt Sannie lives with Kristine.

Before they left, though, Dad asked if he could say something to everyone. Sannie and the girls sat back down and Dad gave the most moving speech I’ve ever heard him give. He talked about having Multiple Myeloma for a number of years and then just discovering last week that he has Acute Myeloid Leukemia and why he was put on hospice. He thanked everyone for coming today and said that he probably won’t see any of them again and he was glad that he had this opportunity to say goodbye to everyone. I was impressed with how much love was in his farewell and I was so glad that everyone was able to make it to the gathering!

My son and Sage came kind of late in the gathering, so I encouraged them to stay a little longer so that Lauryn and I could visit with them. I just got a text from him about an hour ago saying that after they left and headed home, they were rear ended on the highway. I guess it did quite a bit of damage to their car, but he made sure to start out by telling us that they are both OK. Please pray for them. This is the last thing they needed to have happen to them right now!

After everyone had left, I thought Dad would be exhausted and would go right to sleep, but the gathering seemed to have invigorated him. He was awake the rest of the evening until bedtime and worrying about an incident that happened yesterday. Elaine had gone out to the mailbox in the morning because she hadn’t yet collected Friday’s mail. There was an unexpected check in the mail, so she took it and deposited it at the bank a few minutes later. In the evening, when the mail usually comes, she went out again to check for yesterday’s mail, and she found the door of their mailbox open and the lock broken. They have a mailbox in a clump of mailboxes for the neighborhood and none of the other mailboxes had been touched. Dad came up with a theory that the person who broke into their mailbox must have known about the check but didn’t get to it before Elaine collected it and deposited it. Elaine still had the letter that was left on the page when she tore the check off the bottom, and the receipt from the deposit was stapled to it. Dad wanted to see the letter and he examined it so thouroughly that Elaine asked him if he was looking for fingerprints.

I think Dad desires to take care of everything for Elaine before he goes. He wants to get to the bottom of this strange incident and he wants to finish preparing their tax documents to hand over to their CPA before the tax deadline. There was a really sweet moment tonight that I wish I had had my camera for. He was finally in the hospital bed and Elaine was saying goodnight to him when he pursed his lips and kissed her. They smiled at each other and looked into each others’ eyes for a moment. That is the first time I have ever actually seen how much they love each other. They aren’t prone to public displays of affection. I am so glad to be here and learn things about my dad that I’ve never known before!

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