On this somber anniversary, I want to share some of his very last, poignant words. (He had many others, and you can read about them here.)
He went through a rapid decline, could barely swallow, and speaking was getting more and more difficult each day. We’d only get a few words out of him, every now and then. Sometimes he made sense. Sometimes not-so-much.
He eventually stopped speaking at all. But not quite yet.
With only a sponge to give him fluids, one morning he asked for a lifesaver.
“Get me a lifesaver, would ya?”
The candy, not a do-over. Although I’m sure he would have preferred that as well, but at the moment, he only wanted a WINT O GREEN MINT.
One, teeny, tiny circle of sweetness.
My sister and I knew better. Even something that small would make him choke and gag, and things could turn real bad, real fast. So we had our mother break it into pieces before giving him just one smashed bit.
She held her palm out, like she was feeding a pony, and offered the broken lifesaver piece to him.
He looked at her hand.
Then looked her in the eyes.
Then looked at her hand.
Then looked at me. Then my sister.
Then back at her hand.
Then, as clear as day, he boomed in that ageless, timeless Mike Mayer scary-ass voice: