One year ago today, our attorney had brought over some papers for my husband, Carl Crosier, to sign, concerning the ownership of our companies. He had already been discharged from the hospital to home hospice care, following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer eight months prior, and Carl was finalizing his estate plans.
“I’ll sign them in the morning.”
Little did I know that the morning would bring about a complete change in my life, and that the papers would never be signed. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night, and felt Carl’s body taking over the bed. I tried pushing him back to his own side, but gave up and I just went out to the living room and lay down on the sofa, where I awoke with the alarm going off at 5:30 am.
I walked into the bedroom, and found Carl lying completely diagonally across the bed, his head wedged between the bed frame and the mattress.
He mumbled something to me and I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I tried lifting his arms and they were as rigid as a board. His legs were equally stiff, and immovable. I went to get Carol Rodi, Carl’s sister, who was staying in our guest room, and told her something was wrong with Carl. I thought he might have had a stroke. He again mumbled something to us, but we couldn’t understand his speech. Over and over again, he said something like “oh so shirry, oh so shirry!”
I asked him, “I don’t know what you mean! What is shirry?”
And you know the rest of the story. We tried propping him up on pillows, but he kept falling over. I called the hospice nurse who suggested that perhaps he be moved to a hospice facility. Carl and I had talked about this before, and he had been open to such a move, especially when it seemed obvious to me that we could not care for him at home since Carl had refused to order a hospital bed. (P.S. He also didn’t want me to order a walker or a wheelchair, but I did anyway but he wanted them out of his sight, so we had to hide them in the closet. The day came when he simply couldn’t walk anymore, and we were grateful that at least we had the wheelchair.) The nurse didn’t know if he could even survive being transported to a hospice facility — but he was moved to St. Francis West (which no longer exists) — a 30-minute drive from our home because the facility in town had no openings. Carl died the next day, and my life has not been the same since.
To refresh your memory on his last day on earth, go back and read my post: “Bach to the end,” in which although his body was paralyzed, he was able to respond to the music of Bach which we played at his bedside.
By the way, I finally figured out what Carl was trying to say to me: “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry!”
Here are the highlights of thirty-seven years, one month, and 13 days of marriage, which in retrospect, went by in a flash.
As you know, Carl had talked for years about what music he wanted at his funeral — an all-women’s choir singing the Gregorian chant propers, which is what we did. But he also mentioned that perhaps on the one-year anniversary we might hold a concert, and he suggested the “Requiem” by Maurice Duruflé as a possibility.
That memorial concert is in fact going to be a reality, but it will take place on Sunday, November 1st, 2015 at 7:00 pm: All Saints Day. The Lutheran Church of Honolulu Choir will combine with the Hawaii Vocal Arts Ensemble to present not only the Duruflé Requiem, but also the world-premiere of an “a cappella” double choir mass by Frank Ferko, commissioned on the suggestion of Carl. It will all be a great tribute to his memory — and I hope many of you will be able to attend this free concert.