Friday, April 6, 2012

In Memoriam: R.D. Munro, 1914-2012

DairyStateMom's father died last night. We miss him already.

It was certainly his time, as much as any passing can ever be. In the last few years, his health had been seriously in decline, exacerbated by steadily progressing dementia, presumably Alzheimer's. Yet an ironic benefit of his decline was a family decision to move him from Indianapolis, his lifelong hometown, up to assisted living facilities very near to us, where we got to see him much more frequently in his last few years than we otherwise would have.

When I met him, a few months after I began courting his youngest daughter, he was already a bit stooped and frail looking. But he still completed the Daily Jumble in the paper and listened with interest as I described my work.

I called him "Mr. Munro" in those days, when we would see him in visits every three or four months in which we would drive down to Indianapolis. At some point, he took me aside and kindly told me, "Just call me R.D."

And when his daughter and I drove down on a weekend in the middle of the summer of 2004 to announce the happy news of our engagement, he beamed quietly.

The DairyStateKids got to know him a little bit as a new step-grandfather, and when the time came that his cat had to be taken to the vet to be euthanized, my younger son drew him a picture of the beloved pet. We gathered that up last night from my father-in-law's room at the assisted living facility where he died, surrounded by family and under the immensely kind care of wonderful hospice nurses.

Had life been different in so many ways, perhaps my sons could have known him as the strong and steadfast gentleman he was for most of his life. But I'm glad they got to at least meet him -- and he them -- in any case.

We also took home his copy of one of our wedding pictures. And from that same day, I will always treasure one memory especially: the man who, at the age of 91, slowly, but with great patience, dignity and pride, walked his youngest daughter down the aisle to marry me nearly seven years ago.

Rest in Peace, R.D. You were a good man, and I am so grateful that I got to know you.