through Friday to Tuesday, we spent much of every day in a modest sunny room at Bayview Villa home. Scott held his dad’s hand, read to him, talked to him. We played St. Olaf choir singing hymns on a CD. We sat with Ruth along with also talked together. We met with nurses. We went in along with also out. Friday Dave was responsive along with also emotional. Saturday along with also Sunday he had a more vacant look, yet might still squeeze hands. Monday mid-day he seemed to hear his neighbors’ voices as they visited, yet by Monday afternoon his breathing changed. Tuesday he was never conscious, along with also clearly dying. the idea was his 9th day without any food or drink. As the sun set, the staff encouraged us to go home for some rest. So often, they said, families want to be there for the last minutes, yet the dying person is actually waiting for them to leave. We drove back over the hill to Half Moon Bay, along with also within a few hours we got the phone call of which he was gone.
David Vernon Myhre, Jan 4 1932 to September 26 2017, 85 years along with also on to eternity. He was the 6th child born to no-nonsense farmers, first-generation Norwegian immigrants whose parents moved to the USA using a wave of Scandinavians seeking opportunities in a time of upheaval at home. Dave was born in Canada where they had migrated seeking better farmland, along with also he lived there until he was 5, speaking Norwegian at home. In 1937 they bought a farm in Abercrombie, ND, where he then grew up, quickly learning English in school. He drove along with also tinkered with farm machinery, one time rolling a tractor which could have ended his life. All four of our parents were the youngest in large families inside WW2 generation whose older siblings served, yet by the time they were teens enabled to go to college. Dave graduated using a degree in chemistry, then did a master’s along with also went on to University of Minnesota for a PhD. Even a couple of years ago as he reflected on of which opportunity, he marveled. So much grace to a quiet, careful, intelligent farming boy.
At the University he met another graduate student of Norwegian/Swedish descent, Ruth, who was studying to teach home economics. They were married in 1957, had Scott in 1960, left with his PhD in 1962 to move to Cincinnati along with also work for Proctor along with also Gamble, had Sonja in 1963. He never left P&G, working for 32 years in a research lab for carbohydrate chemistry. He basically invented Pringles, which is actually pretty cool, though inside late 70’s he began to be more interested in health along with also gravitated towards gardening, running, then biking, generating his own whole-grain bread. He taught Scott to play baseball along with also basketball, cheered at a million games, took up tennis along with also suspended golfing to spend more time with his kids. He had a garage full of woodworking tools along with also created some lovely artful pieces, even after he lost two finger in an accident with the planer. He was serious about his faith, studying his Bible, dedicating many hours to his roles as a deacon along with also elder at the church. He was frugal with himself along with also generous with others, dependable, hard-working. In retirement he along with also Ruth adventured around the entire world, along with also when Sonja settled in California they decided to move to Half Moon Bay to help her with kids along with also enjoy the closeness of family along with also the beauty of living by the ocean.
In his final decade, a bike accident with significant brain bleeding followed by more strokes marked a downward progression of dementia. We watched the person we knew slowly ebb away. He battled the disease, trying diet, exercise, hearing aids, various augmentations to stay active along with also involved as long as he could. In January we had the kids out celebrating his birthday, along with also he was still going on walks to the ocean along with also participating in outings. yet within a month or so his decline accelerated. In March Scott made an emergent trip back to confirm of which even the in-home helper his mom had tried was not enough, so he along with also his mom made the painful choice of a nursing home. Sonja came back through Norway more than once too. By the end of August he had had a pneumonia, along with also entered hospice care inside nursing home, no longer actually knowing any of us we felt. In mid-September while Ruth was visiting Sonja in Norway, friends looking out for him told them to hurry back. yet when they arrived he rallied, so we continued on our trip until the idea became clear of which Dave was no longer able to swallow, along with also Ruth needed us here, along with also we came.
Death in all forms shows us the entire world is actually not right, is actually broken. Death through dementia is actually particularly grievous, as the personality declines out of sync with the body. Grief becomes chronic as the days become unpredictable. The gradual slope sometimes drops off abruptly using a hospitalization, then levels again. the idea is actually painful along with also frustrating for the person along with also all around him to march back through developmental milestones as the privileges of adulthood (driving, having a check-book, using a computer, traveling, then even walking out the door or going to the bathroom alone) fall away. Watching, mostly through afar, intermittently up close, the nitty gritty of a life winding down, we look beyond the things which are seen to those which are not. Beyond the fragility of a body near the end, to the glory of a soul entering eternity.
This particular week we spent inside shadow of death, yet we fear no evil. We will celebrate life along with also desire as we gather on Wednesday, 3 pm, at Community United Methodist Church, in Half Moon Bay.