|Gene & Perry at Corona del Mar, May 1978|
[Entry from Perry's journal]
January 22, 1979: It has been 6 days since Gene has had any pain medication. Last Friday, the 19th, she went shopping with me and Harriet. I pushed her in the wheel chair through the mall. When she would get out of the wheel chair to shop around, I would sit in the chair. It worked out very well that way.
February 14, 1979
Just want you to know I truly did appreciate that beautiful birthday card you gave me, and the Valentine box of candy just made my day. And this Valentine's Day I'm still enjoying them!
Thank you, darling, for remembering me. I appreciate your thinking of me each day too. It helps to make each one of my days "special." I love you very much. Your Mom
[More from Perry's journal]
May 6, 1979: My birthday! My father died on this day. I was at priesthood meeting when Bishop Ohman came and called me out. Gene had called the church after getting the word from the nursing home where he had been for only 6 days. His passing was quiet and peaceful.
I came home, called all the family, and the funeral home, got things going, then I had to go back and teach my Sunday School, Gospel Doctrine, class. Somehow the lesson seemed to fit with what had just happened. I told them about my father, how true to the gospel he had been, how hard he had worked, how willing he was to do anything for his children. I recalled once when I was quite young, it was early spring and a cold wind was blowing. I came home from school and walked out into the field to see where my father was plowing. But the sun was getting low and the wind was colder. When I came to my father, he immediately saw how cold I was, and he took off his jacket and put it on me. Few experiences I have ever had have made me feel so warm, comfortable, and loved as that one simple act. That, to me, symbolizes his life.
Gene is quite weak. I told her all the family would understand if I stayed with her rather than flying up to the funeral. But she insisted on my going, and she will fly up with me. She is strong spiritually though weakened physically. We had already flown Mother up when we had to put Dad in the nursing home.
On Saturday the 5th I came by the nursing home to see Dad. I had just been to the hospital with Gene. She was too weak to get out of the car so she waited while I went in. Dad was very weak. He could barely whisper. He asked about “Mama.” He said he wanted to come home. How it hurt me to tell him that I could not bring him home, that he needed to stay here where they could give him care and help that I could not give. How it hurt to know that I did not have the physical ability to care for him any longer the way I had done for the past three years. Then I leaned over and whispered softly in his ear as I stroked his head and told him how much I loved him, how much all of his children loved him. Then I enumerated a few of the many, many things he had done for each of his children, starting with the oldest and down to me again. He didn’t try to speak any more. He seemed at ease and at peace. That was the last time I saw him alive.
May 12, 1979: Gene and I flew up to Salt Lake earlier in the week and Dad’s funeral was held on Saturday the 12th. Many, many relatives and friends attended. The chapel at the old Hillcrest Ward was filled. Gene was not feeling well at all. Her brother, Dick, sat by her. I was on the stand. During the service, Dick had to help her out where she lay on a couch during the rest of the service. It is so sad, so sad to see her in this condition. But there is not grief for Dad. He filled a full, complete life.
May 14, 1979: Today is my father’s birthday. He would have been 92 had he lived eight more days. Gene and I made a sudden change of plans while in Salt Lake. We decided to come back Saturday night rather than wait until Monday. I could see that Gene was feeling just too poorly, and I was anxious to get back too.
I still had today off so I spent the time being with Gene as much as possible. I also washed all of Mother’s and Dad’s bedding, mopped and waxed, and it looks very nice. I took Gene to the Danson for lunch. She had a pineapple boat with lots of fruit. Sometimes I am actually quite hopeful.
Here are the things that needed signatures for you. Mother has been looking for some word from you. I think she is really lonesome for you. She keeps saying, "I'm wondering how Perry is." and "I wonder how Gene is." So even though the news is not good, it was still good for her to hear about you.
She is doing fine. She said she thinks she will never get rested. She is sleeping and eating good and can read some again now. Grant went and bought her a hand reader with a globe light attachment which automatically goes off when it gets hot. Mother calls it "magic."
So far I have not left Mother alone. I don't want her to get mixed up and wonder if she's alone. We love having her. Perry, I do wish things could have been different for at least a little while for you. We all send our love, Mother, Grant & Hope
|Perry & Gene work on a project together to|
reupholster some chairs, Winter 1978
Hope said you had a new reading glass. I am glad because I know how much you enjoy reading. I am sure Hope and Grant will keep you supplied with plenty of good reading material. I hope you will be able to enjoy doing a lot of other things too. You can visit with a lot of friends and family and just relax and sleep when you want to.
I have your room all cleaned up and changed around some. There is a lot more room in the bedroom now with just one bed in it. I hope to get the bedroom painted this summer. Your place is all ready whenever you want to come back, but I imagine you want to spend a lot more time up there yet. The summers in Utah are a lot nicer than they are here in Southern California. I know all of your other daughters want you to spend some time with them too. That must be nice to know that so many people want you to live with them. And remember, you have your place back here too. I am sending Hope some money from your account to help with the living expenses. So you can relax and know that you are helping out and paying your expenses.
Things are about the same here. Gene is about the same, but she doesn't seem to be getting any better. Linda and Marian have been taking turns coming in and staying with her. Next week Harriet is coming to stay for two weeks or so. That will just about take us to the end of school when I can be with her for the rest of the summer.
|Perry & Gene at home, June 3, 1978|
I just about have all the business of the funeral taken care of. There are just a few more bills to pay. I am going to the hospital today and expect to settle that. Yesterday I took care of the doctor bill. You and Dad were very thoughtful in planning ahead so that there is no financial difficulty. I have been to the Social Security office. You should start getting a small increase in your check soon. So you just relax, enjoy yourself, and know that everything is all right. It surely makes me feel good to know that you are getting such good care with Hope and Grant.
Much love from us here in California. Perry