My husband Glenn died Sunday June 16, 2019, Father’s Day. He was 82.
We all experience loss whether it’s a spouse, daughter, son or a friend. We have to confront death in order to value life. Glenn and I, in our declining years, had time to reminisce and converse about our lives. We are grateful for our many years in this world and for our 53 years together. We have been fortunate in having love and support from our families and from an abundance of friends.
There have been “pot holes, bumps” in the road but I never met anyone whose life was not touched by sadness and disappointment, who has not stumbled along the way.
Glenn was born in Sheboygan, Wis., the oldest of four boys. The family moved to Minneapolis where he attended South High. At 18 Glenn joined the Navy Air Force. He flew as a radar technician during the Cold War with Russia. He also experienced working in an airport guiding planes who were landing. At some point he learned Russian and did translating while in the service. Glenn was always proud of the time he spent in the service of his country and grateful for the opportunities he had in the Naval Air Corps.
He had a love of adventure and travel and embraced with enthusiasm people and culture whereever he “set up his tent.” He lived in Hawaii, attended the University of Hawaii for two years where he taught golf. He learned to dance the hula and along with his first wife, took pleasure on preparing and serving luaus. He enjoyed good food and entertaining.
I met Glenn when he was married to my cousin. When we got together his father-in-law became his uncle and his uncle became his father-in-law. I encouraged him to leave the service and settle in Minneapolis. He worked as a surveyor in an engineering firm. Later he became a supervisor for a sewer and water company. We lived on Colfax avenue where we raised three sons. Glenn thoroughly enjoyed being a father and sharing with his sons his love of nature, his knowledge of the woods, hunting and fishing. We spent weekends camping in the woods in Lanesboro.
During his life he worked at many different jobs – truck driver, meat cutter in a butcher shop, surveyor, business man, also a custodian in a church. He thought all work was noble whether the task was small or large and took pride on being the “best” at whatever work he took on.
Eventually when our sons were approaching adulthood, Glenn and I abandoned them, leaving them to shift for themselves in the house on Colfax. Glenn and I moved to Lanesboro where we took over the White Front Café. Like other small businesses in Lanesboro, it was not about making money. It was about serving the community and personal relationships. We maintained the restaurant for 13 years.
At this time I am in “free-fall,” falling through the air without a parachute. I still sleep on “my side of the bed.” I used to launder Glenn’s big fluffy bath towel, fold and hang it in his bathroom. There will be no need to do this now. The pantry and freezer are full of ingredients for meals Glenn intended to cook-pork ribs with his special sauce, lentils and beans for pots of soup.
My mother once said, “I tried to prepare myself for your father dying and being alone but I found there is no way to prepare, you just have to live through it.”
Again, I am fortunate to have the love and support of our three sons and their families as we go forward.