Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Tribute to Bill

I spent last weekend in Delavan WI trying to support my dear friend as much as I could. Bill was her dad, and after a short short fight with what the doctors to believe was Mantel Lymphoma, he passed away. Bill was 65 years old. He and Julie (his wife) had spent some time living in separate household so Julie could retire from the school district she had invested so much time in. They saw each other on weekends and holidays, but finally, after a few years, they were able to live under one roof again. They had just began taking trips, visiting family and friends in between the jobs that both of them held. Bill was very active in their church and was a huge factor in the remodeling of their church. He was active in the American Legion, and really I don't think he spent any time just relaxing. Bill was very important to many many people.

5 weeks before he died, he wasn't feeling well. He was anemic, and after testing they found his spleen was grossly enlarged. He started out in the Janesville WI hospital, but was moved to Madison after the doctors scratched their heads, not knowing what was going on with Bill. Madison continued with testing, including two bone marrow biopsies, booth coming back negative. But Madison was convinced there was some sort of cancer in his body, most likely going through his blood since his symptoms had become systemic. A PET scan was done, and it showed his enlarged spleen, along with two nodes lighting up. They did a biopsy of a node the next morning and that afternoon, Bill left his body.

I have never been to a funeral that captured more of a persons essence than that one did. It was so obvious how much he was loved by all people that came into contact with him. The church was packed, and extra chairs had to be brought in. I cried for his family, I laughed at memories shared at the eulogy, and was amazed by it all.

Some things for you to ponder....

Bill died on Veteran's Day...he was a vet and it was VERY important to him.

Bill's was the first funeral in the new sanctuary of the church that he played an intricate role in.

The day before he died, his other daughter gave birth to his second grandchild.

In the last year Bill had pushed Julie to make improvements to their condo. New carpet, wood floors, cabinets, appliances, just to name a few things.

Bill will be missed by so many people. He was the true definition of love thy neighbor as thy self.
He would give the shirt off of his back for anyone, and you certainly would not forget him when you met him. I can only hope to instill those qualities in my girls, and try like heck to follow it myself.

Til next time, Bill.

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