My other two sons and I, plus their father (who actually was there a week longer), spent a week in DC’s Prince Georges Hospital, mostly in the Critical Care waiting room, after Dan’s accident. On our second last day, Dan was moved upstairs to a sort of step down unit. The waiting room was worse, but the hospital room gave us more time and privacy. We had been talking to Danny all the time, but now there was not a room full of folk and tons of equipment around.
Brian and I were starting conversations with him – Bri noticed Dan’s left foot moving, and started asking questions about a plumbing problem he had been working on. Dan was signalling yes with his left foot, so Bri switched to yes / no questions. After that problem was solved, I started telling Dan about the new baby arriving soon in the family – Patrick and Annie were expecting a baby boy, to be named August Patrick McNamara, in the next few days. I said to Dan ‘Of course, you don’t know Annie.’ His foot became very agitated, and I realized he did know Annie – he had met her the year before at Patrick’s college graduation celebration. When I said that, Dan answered with a very emphatic and strong Yes movement of his foot. That afternoon left us very hopeful.
Dan’s Planet Leaving
Dan had been in the hospital exactly 4 weeks, minus 4 hours, and was each day showing more signs of waking up. Moving his head toward the speaker, opening his eyes on command, seeming to track conversations. He had had another and final surgery on his leg, his other physical wounds were healing fast, he was mostly off the ventilator, had a stomach tube for feeding, and a tracheotomy for breathing, so he did not have all that apparatus around his neck and face.
Donna was researching rehab centers, and we were making plans to return to DC, expecting a long rehab therapy program for Dan. Sunday morning, June 12, right about noon, Danny, still in a coma, reached up to his throat – probably a tickle or the feeling of a cough – and pulled out his trach. The staff could not get it back in. And just like that, our beloved Danny was gone from the planet.
It was awful – and even more awful having to tell folk. I really appreciated Facebook for making it faster and easier.
Danny’s Memorial Service
Danny’s Memorial was held just outside of northeast DC where he lived (Riverside, College Park, Cheverley, Lanham) on Saturday, June 25. The night before, most of Donna’s family and those of us from Cincinnati, had dinner at one of Dan’s favorite places, and the lunch following the service was at another such place, where Kyle’s college graduation celebration had been held.
Danny loved and lived in tie-dye T-shirts, so Donna found a website with lots of choices, so we could each have a tie-dye shirt for the service. Mine, of course, was a bright and beautiful spring green. She, grandson Kyle, and her family found pictures of Danny, and we found some here – so there were easels up with pictures of Dan all around the room. Donna had chosen a gorgeous urn – that deep green with bronze, Japanese raku.
Donna’s uncle, a Baptist minister from North Carolina, led the service. A lot of Danny’s and Donna’s and Kyle’s friends were present – well over a hundred folk, I expect. Donna had selected Dan’s and her favorite music, prepared a wonderful program, and even found a woman who embeds seeds in small paper hearts, so they can be planted outside and grow in honor of Dan.
Executives from Donna’s office had managed to find tie-dye ties to wear. And grandson Kyle had a friend tie-dye a polo shirt for him.
Many of Dan’s friends spoke, a multicultural mix with different ages coming up. Son Terry spoke about Danny saving him from drowning in the ocean, about all his memories of Dan. And then came up again a few speakers later to tell everyone how glad he was that his brother Danny was surrounded by so many great and wonderful friends in DC. Brian also spoke, giving a truly beautiful appreciation of Dan and his special qualities – especially a gift for happiness.
I was totally unable to speak, and just wept on Brian’s shoulder most of the time. After the service, Jerry, Brian, Terry and I just held on to each other in a circle. Then we got Kyle and brought him into the circle. I felt Danny surrounding and holding on to all of us.
Eddie Goldstein’s Service
The week before Danny’s service, one of Brian’s best friends was in hospice care, dying of pancreatic cancer – Brian spent most of that week with Eddie. When we flew back from DC on Sunday morning, we went straight to Eddie’s service in Northern Kentucky. It was also beautiful, and brought us back in touch with a lot of the old neighborhood.
Donna and Kyle
Life is hard for Danny’s wife, Donna (36 years of marriage!) and son Kyle, 30, now. They are working to keep the business going and to keep their lives together. Donna has quit her job and is working in DC Supply now – Danny’s (Crum – that’s the DC) plumbing supply business, where Dan was the outside guy and son Kyle was the inside guy. They are just taking it one day at a time.
My friend Barb waited a couple of months to come in from Minneapolis, and was here last week. Another friend of hers came in from Toronto, and yet another close friend hosted us and fed us a fair bit of the time at her condo in Hyde Park. A trip to another friend’s farm, interesting shopping, talking late, late, late – and eating lots and everywhere. A great and relaxing and regenerating visit. Thanks, Barb!
Brian and I
Brian and I are spending more time together than usual – we both have very busy lives, which intersect at community / politics / development lines, but which haven’t always left us a lot of time together. We are now scheduling each other in, especially with visits to 2-1/2 month old August, and tonight to Lumenocity, Cincinnati’s special laser light celebration.