I am sharing Jason Anderson’s account of Peter Hallock’s last trip home, as he wrote on the CaringBridge.org website:
This is a difficult journal entry to write. Paul and I packed up Peter’s belongings from Marianwood, loaded up my car, and then wheeled Peter to my car. Wondering how best to get Peter into the Jetta, it dawned on me: “Peter, give me a big hug and we’ll slowly get you into the car.” He did, and by 2:45pm, we were on our way home. As Peter and I passed through Issaquah, I had a sense that I was going to need help. I called Tommy. He dropped everything and began the trek from Ballard to Fall City.
After passing exit 20, Peter asked “Did you miss the Fall City exit?” “No,” I said, “only two more miles.” We talked about how he wanted to enter his house: walker or wheelchair. He decided on the walker. At 3:32pm, we pulled into the carport, I set up the walker, he again gave me a big hug so I could help him out of the car, and we tried twice to get him stable enough to walk—no go. Out came the wheelchair and at about that time Jennifer from Providence Hospice arrived. I helped Peter into the wheelchair, wheeled him into his home, and introduced him to Jennifer. It was about 3:45pm. Peter gazed at his house, marveled that the cuckoo clocks were running (that was a Saturday cleaning party task), and then took his place at the kitchen table. Jennifer and Peter shook hands, said hello, and then Peter went completely cold—his face turned ghastly white, his hands a purplish-blue hue, and he became non-responsive. Jennifer tried to find a pulse and check for any blood pressure. There was none. Jennifer asked about a POLST form; we hadn’t filled one out yet. Peter had an advanced medical directive and a quick phone call to Gerry confirmed—DNR. At my request, Jennifer assisted me in getting Peter into his bed.Jennifer called 911 as she was required to do by law. Paramedics pronounced him dead at 4:10pm. Meanwhile, his neighbors saw the commotion and came to see what was going on. Marcia and Joe were first to arrive. I broke down in Marcia’s embrace.
Then the phone calls commenced—just like Peter had asked. To Gerry, Carl, Barbara, Tillie Ann, Jonathan, George and on and on. Jennifer offered to call the Neptune Society for me. I gratefully accepted her offer. Then the calls and texts came in—the call from Mary was a Godsend.
After the paramedics and sheriff finished their required work, Tommy and I began to chant Compline at Peter’s bedside. It was so meaningful to sing Compline to him one last time, though it was incredibly difficult to get through some of the chants and spoken words. Tommy was cantor and I officiant. At the Nunc dimittis, Mary arrived, knelt at Peter’s bed, and together, we commended Peter to eternity.
Mary offered to stay at the house so Tommy and I could return to Seattle and sing Compline. For this, Tommy and I are eternally grateful. To be with the Compline community and share our grief with each other was truly special. For the office, the choir offered a commendatory prayer for Peter at the beginning of the service, followed by his processional setting of the Pascha nostrum (Easter Canticle: Christ our Passover) for choir and bells. We sang Peter’s setting of Psalm 84, knowing how good it was for Peter to have arrived at home. The hymn was ‘We walk by faith and not by sight’ and we all found it difficult to wind our way through Henry Alford’s final verse: ‘that, when our life of faith is done, in realms of clearer light we may behold you as you are, with full and endless sight.’ The Nunc dimittis was the Tallis tone 7 harmonization, which the choir lovingly refers to as ‘The Party Piece’ complete with the seal of the Diocese of Olympia on the top right corner. We finished by singing Peter’s anthem Peace and the Final Responses, two of his earliest works for Compline dating to 1956.
There will be both a burial rite and a tribute concert. Stay tuned for details. We are all in grief at the loss of our friend. Your prayers and well wishes are needed and accepted with grateful thanks.