With Love, to the Last Breath


At 6 p.m. tonight, Dad took his last breath as my brother Dean told him that he loved him, and as I read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130, one of Dad’s favorites. To understand why my Dad loved that particular sonnet so much, you have to appreciate how he “fought for his pants” every day of day of his wonderful marriage to my mother. Not long before he died, his eyebrows lifted up, the way they would when he saw someone who delighted him, and his lips moved as if he were speaking to them.

Dad, this is for you and Mom, thanks to the Bard:

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks; 
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
   And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
   As any she belied with false compare.

Their love was rare, and they are together again. But, dear Dad, I will miss you.


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4 responses to “With Love, to the Last Breath

  1. Jeannie Darneille

    Betsy, thank you for sharing this journey with us. I am awed by your eloquence and so appreciate every ounce of courage it took to share Hank with us. My memory of your dad will always be accompanied by memory of your mom.

  2. Kristi Peterson

    In the tears that have welled in my eyes are full measures of gratitude for your father – his role as husband and parent, his contributions in service to his family, country, faith, vocation and avocations – and for your love, devotion, care and eloquence in sharing so much with so many. Your service has been a benediction, Betsy. In sympathy and with joy for his life and legacy – your good fortune in having such a wonderful Dad. Love.

  3. Betsy, I don’t know what to say. I just hope that when I transition from this body that I have a daughter, or someone like you with me, to help me get prepared.

  4. Lissie Krauss

    Dear Betsy . . . I am sad for the loss of your wonderful father. I feel as though I have met him through your blog. Deep heartfelt thanks for sharing his and your journey with me. My own experience with the deaths of my father first, then my mother tells me you will come to treasure what I call their passing gift to me . . . to be present through all the ups and downs, eventually more downs. Today I know it was a beautiful privilege to be a partner in the journey to join each other, and even now feel their presence around me. You were a blessing to your Dad (& Mom earlier), their light shall shine down upon you always. I know you are sad and tired . . . please be gentle with yourself . . . allow you family and friends to take care of you now for a little while. Henry . . . soar with the angels to your wife & daughter. Peace !

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